Eighty-six times in the past, Central High School graduates were sent off into the world from the familiar confines of Valley Stream.
That changed for 87th group of graduates to finish Central, the class of 2013. This year’s ceremony was moved to the Tilles Center at LIU Post after the last two graduations were moved indoors to Memorial Junior High School’s gymnasium.
Principal Joseph Pompilio noted that the Tilles Center provided much more comfort for the school’s 340 graduates and their family and friends.
Dipika Walia, the senior class president, spoke about how expectations can change. At the beginning of the year, she and her classmates never would have expected their graduation to be held anywhere other than Valley Stream. They never would have expected to miss a week of school due to a hurricane.
“No matter how much we expected, we never knew what was in store for us,” she said. “You never really know what’s going to happen, no matter how much you plan things out.”
Walia noted that it was the unexpected that made their senior year so special.
Valedictorian Chung Wei Jason Shen reflected on his class’s journey to become high school graduates. He looked back at elementary school, when they were full of curiosity and began making life-long friendships. He recalled junior high, when the class of 2013 came together for the first time from several elementary schools, and where they got their first tastes of independence.
Most recently, he looked back upon high school — the classes, concerts, games and prom. “This journey has been incredible,” he said.
Rohan Motwani, the salutatorian, likened life to chicken wings. “The main reason each wing is unique is because of the marinate,” he said. “The upbringing and influence offered by parents, guardians, idols and even teachers, that tender care is what gives the wing the flavor, the idiosyncrasies, the individuality. I believe the way Central has helped marinate us has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
Motwani reminded his fellow graduates to be adventurous — the spice of a chicken wing — and to explore their interests while they are still young.
Shen said that he looks forward to great successes from the class of 2013 and believes that they are well prepared. “Central provided us with the tools, the resources and the opportunities,” he said, “that enable us to figure out where we want to go in life.”