South Side High School class of 2014 was all cheers and smiles in their red caps and gowns as they graduated last Friday at Hofstra University.
After the seniors entered to ‚ÄúPomp and Circumstance,‚ÄĚ Student Government Association President Forrest Butensky led the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the senior members of the Chamber Singers sang the national anthem.
Salutatorian Michael Spelfogel encouraged his fellow graduates to have faith in one another. ‚ÄúIf we all trust each other, the world will be a better place and our opportunities will be limitless,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúClass of 2014, always trust each other.‚ÄĚ
Bobbi Edelson, of the Alumni Association, presented the Centennial Award for School and Community to Julia Ottinger and Lucas Derkatch; Principal Carol Burris gave the Dr. Richard S. Byers School and Community Service Award to Kennedy Wolfman; and Superintendent William Johnson presented the Laurel Awards to Thomas Keady and Jennifer Gentile.
Valedictorian Meghan Connelly thanked the teachers, faculty, coaches, parents and her ‚Äúclass of extremely intelligent people‚ÄĚ for their support through the years. ‚ÄúOur families all played a role in shaping how strong we are today,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúAnd with their help, we did it. We made it through high school, and I know each and every one of us is stronger for it.‚ÄĚ
Connelly summed up her high school experience: ‚ÄúWhen I think about it, I didn‚Äôt just make friends,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI made a family.‚ÄĚ
Board of Education Secretary Gregg Spaulding congratulated the graduates for earning Regents diplomas, and read a section of ‚ÄúOh, the Places You‚Äôll Go‚ÄĚ by Dr. Seuss.
‚ÄúYou are a group of young men and women who have reached out to our community and made it a better place to belong,‚ÄĚ Spaulding said. ‚ÄúI ask you again the same question I asked [you] in eighth grade ‚ÄĒ are you ready for the next step in your life?‚ÄĚ
After some prompting, the graduates shouted, ‚ÄúYes!‚ÄĚ
Burris told the graduates that even though they were leaving South Side, their impact on and memories of the school would remain. ‚ÄúYou will be in a different place next year when our school bell rings,‚ÄĚ she said, ‚Äúbut traces of you will remain here still.‚ÄĚ
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer also spoke to the graduates, encouraging them to ‚Äúgo for it.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúWhen you have doubts ‚ÄĒ and we all have doubts, that‚Äôs the natural condition, that‚Äôs how God made us,‚ÄĚ Schumer said, ‚Äúremember all the great advantages you have, and that you‚Äôre the best.‚ÄĚ