“The storm was brutal,” she said. “It threatened to wash away our spirits, crush our sense of community and destroy our lives. We’ve experienced how working together can abolish, destroy and eradicate any obstacle placed in our path.”
Principal Dr. Gaurav Passi, Board of Education President Roy Lester and Weiss all touched on that resiliency during their remarks, commending the students’ and faculty’s efforts during a very difficult school year.
“As you move through the rest of your life, never forget the lessons you learned immediately following the storm,” Passi said. “Never forget the power of community and the power in coming together to help each other.”
The ceremony began with a moment of silence in memory of two students, Shakur Moore and Christopher Cuzzo, who died in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and would have graduated this year.
The class of 2013 included 40 International Baccalaureate graduates, who wore special stoles. This was the second year of the high school’s designation as an International Baccalaureate World School.
The graduating class also boasted seven A.P. Scholars, a National Merit Finalist, two Scholar-Artist honors recipients, two All-State musicians, 14 National Art Honor Society members and 78 National Honor Society members, as well as one finalist and three semifinalists in the Coca Cola Scholars Program, an All-American lacrosse player and an All-State wrestler.
Salutatorian Carlo Sevilla elicited laughter with a pretended attempt to turn his speech into a dance, then recalled his first experience dancing on a stage, and later cited rapper Drake’s song “Started from the Bottom” to make the point that he and his classmates had reached the pinnacle of their high school education.
“We truly did not run from our problems,” said Sevilla, who will attend Macaulay Honors College, part of the City University of New York, this fall. “We confronted them, resolved them and learned from the experience. Over time our ups and downs made me realize how much we’ve changed as a class over the years.”