Life lessons from TV icons fuel Seaford High School graduation


Graduates from Seaford High School’s Class of 2024 will bring with them into the real world some life lessons from television icons. The theme across all of the speeches at this year’s commencement ceremony on June 15 at the Tilles Center was the TV-watching experience and the characters who served as role models.

The icons that were celebrated ranged from the time when watching television in the living room was a family experience, to the present-day streaming era. There were also some wise cartoon characters and puppets.

Principal Nicole Schnabel shared some advice from Ted Lasso, and the valuable lessons he teaches his audience about leadership, love and life. She admires the character of Ted for his relentless kindness, contagious optimism and honest vulnerability.

“Ted Lasso is a modern-day television icon who mirrors so many of the traits of our faculty, students and staff at Seaford High School,” she said.

Valedictorian Umika Hathiramani honored Mr. Feeny from “Boy Meets World” and his lesson that leaving school with a desire to succeed in the world isn’t enough – they must also strive to change it.

“We are always asked what it is we want to be, but it’s important to think about who we want to be,” she said. “What are our core values and principles? Do the experiences we chose speak to our character, personalities and morals? True success is not measured by titles and accolades, but by who we become and the lives we touch along the way.”

Salutatorian Angelina Belgiorno told her fellow graduates to embrace curiosity, and that was why she selected Dora the Explorer as her TV icon. Dora also demonstrated courage and resilience, she explained, traits that are needed to accept new challenges.

“Exploration drives innovation, human connection and societal progress, but also personal growth and self-discovery,” Angelina said, encouraging the Class of 2024 to “cherish what curiosity can accomplish.”

A kind, wise and quirky individual who possesses many of the Seaford Scholar traits such as being mindful, reflective, principled, flexible, resilient and humorous was Superintendent Adele Pecora’s choice. It was Kermit the Frog.

“For nearly 70 years,” she said, “Kermit has spoken to generations of children about following their dreams, being an authentic person and forging meaningful friendships.”

Pecora presented each graduate with a laminated bookmark with the Seaford Scholar logo, inspirational words from Kermit and a small plastic frog.

There were also congratulatory remarks and words of wisdom from State Sen. Steve Rhoads and former State Sen. John Brooks, a 1968 Seaford graduate. Senior members of the chorus performed the National Anthem and Seaford Alma Mater, and there were also several awards presentations, including the 2024 Patriot Award recipients. Retiring teacher Laura Maciag and psychologist Alvin Pitkow received honorary diplomas. Schnabel also paid tribute to Angelina Dominguez, who tragically died during her junior year, and presented her family with a diploma and 2023-2024 yearbook.

When it was time for the soon-to-be alumni to cross the stage, assistant principals Alex Mantay and Raphi Morey announced every student along with his or her accomplishments at Seaford High School and future plans. A high-five from the Seaford Viking awaited each graduate.

Before the traditional cap toss, Schnabel had one more piece of advice from Ted Lasso for the graduates.

“Do you know what the happiest animal on Earth is?” she asked. “A goldfish. You know why? It’s got a 10-second memory. We can define our lives by mistakes or something we wish never happened, or we can define our lives by how we work toward moving forward. Don’t get hung up on the negative. Be that goldfish who already forgot about it.”