“High School graduation is the end of a journey,” Wantagh High School Principal Carolyn Breivogel told the 243 seniors at their graduation last Friday. “[It is a] special journey like no other, complete with the realization that the bond that has been established among each of you, that feels so strong right now, is unlikely to be felt exactly like this again in your lifetime.”
Smiling faces of friends and family members filled the stands of the high school football field as the graduates’ classmates, teachers and district administrators offered them encouragement and advice for the future. “Just know you are part of something bigger in this world,” Salutatorian Andriana Patmanidis told her fellow seniors. “Whether it feels like it or not, there is a place for you, and you have a place.”
Valedictorian Samantha Minars spoke about how Wantagh has affected them all. “The Wantagh community has helped us grow over the past 18 years,” she said, “but now it’s time to continue this growth on our own.”
Board of Education President Peter Mountanos told the graduating class that he was sitting where they were only seven years ago. “We’ve been wired to focus on the what — like titles, places and companies — rather than the why,” Mountanos said. “There is no doubt that we need our graduates to be college- and career-ready, but what we really need is for our students to graduate and become adults who are passionate about making the world a better place.”
Thomas Hurley said he was a very proud parent as he watched his daughter, Marcella, graduate.
Sandra Martucci said it was wonderful to see her grandson Harrison Kane graduate. “[I am] very proud, yes,” she said, with a smile.
Graduate Gina LaRosa said after the ceremony that she felt overwhelmed. “But excited,” she added. “It’s bittersweet.”
District Superintendent John McNamara told the graduates that in today’s society, they would face complex, multi-dimensional challenges that require out-of-the-box thinking. “This is your time, class of 2019,” he said. “The spotlight is on all of you. Face the world head on.”
List of graduates
Toni Ann DelPozzo
Dylan Sean Quinn