A tearful goodbye at Calhoun graduation


Calhoun High School held its 55th annual graduation ceremony last Sunday at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Three hundred and fifty graduating seniors received their diplomas from Calhoun High School Principal David Seinfeld, Central District Superintendent John DeTommaso and Board of Education trustees.

The ceremony was emceed by class of 2014 President Rebecca Peretz, who delivered the welcoming remarks and the class appreciation speech. The audience also heard from valedictorian Katherine Kustas and salutatorian Alexander Boyd. The afternoon was capped off by the senior choir’s rendition of the Calhoun alma mater and the song, “For Just a Little While.”

It was a bittersweet moment for Seinfeld, who presented his final graduating class as Calhoun’s principal. In September, Seinfeld will become the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“I’ll never forget how you made me feel,” he told the class of 2014. “I love Calhoun. I love to share these celebrations with you.”

Assistant Principal Nicole Hollings will become principal in the new school year. Hollings also spoke –– and sang –– to the graduating class. Holding back tears, she discussed how much she had learned from the students.

“We have learned a lot from you,” she said. “Work hard and earn everything you have.” Hollings then sang the opening verse to Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” as students rose to their feet in applause.

Central District Trustee Skip Haile said, “Enjoy the spirit that youth brings. Never settle for mediocrity.”

Boyd reminded his class to focus on becoming good people rather than acquiring wealth, reminding everyone that most tombstones read “Beloved Father” or “Cherished Husband,” not “Accomplished Millionaire.”

“Sometimes the best choice, the easy choice and the right choice are not the same thing,” he said. “We must remember to keep things in perspective. Share some of the good fortune you’ve had with others not so fortunate.”

“We all now have to think of the world outside of Calhoun,” Kustas said. “Tomorrow we head out into the world alone and as individuals. We have to move on to find our passions.”

Peretz, the class president, said, “Everything that we do in life, we do as a member of the Calhoun class of 2014. We are prepared. Calhoun has given us everything we need to take the next leap forward.”