The sun beat down on Glen Cove High School last Sunday — graduation day — as members of the class of 2018 made their way from the school gym to the football field. Led by black-robed school and district administrators, the seniors, clad in crimson and white, marched through a decorated gateway onto the field.
When they left just hours later, their high school careers had come to a close.
High school Principal Tony Santana opened the ceremony with an expression of gratitude. “Thank you, Mother Nature,” he said, “for finally giving Glen Cove a break.” He added, to cheers from the crowd, “We finally got some sunshine.”
Most attendees crowded onto the bleachers, while some, particularly those with young children, sat in the shade beneath them. Every so often, a firm, humid breeze swept across the field and through the stands, offering temporary relief and drawing audible sighs.
The speakers who stepped up to the lectern offered a mix of memories, advice and encouragement to the graduates. “Be present, be sincere and be resilient,” Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna said, adding, “Never compromise your integrity . . . I wish your road to be long and full of adventure, full of choices, and filled with dreams that become a reality.”
“Stop saying, ‘I can’t wait until. . .,’” advised Board of Education President Amy Franklin. “It’s OK to be scared. In fact, you should be scared sometimes. Just remember, Glen Cove will always be your home. We’re with you in your dreams, and in your disappointments.”
Isabel Blas, the graduating class’s honorarian, told her classmates to be “in control of your own destinies. You have the reins,” she said, adding, “Let our reign begin.”
Most speakers took note of one particular quality that defined the graduating class: unity. “No matter what, you always supported one another,” Santana said, mentioning the March for Our Lives that students had organized this spring.
In closing, he implored the class of 2018 to “represent,” adding, “Keep it real.”