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Class of 2019 Gets a Gladiator Sendoff

New Hyde Park Memorial’s Class of 2019 completed their high school experience when they took hold of their diplomas at their commencement ceremony on June 30.

Speakers included Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ralph Ferrie, senior class president Jessica Olivari and Student Council president Marina Pappas.

Dr. Ferrie encouraged students to remember their values and character while pursuing their aspirations, goals and successes.

“In addition to academic, social, athletic or artistic success, please continue to pay close attention to your values and character development,” he said.

Principal Dr. Richard Faccio told the Class of 2019 to not feel anxious about what lies ahead.

“It will hold great things for each of you, especially when you give it your all,” he said. “There’s no guarantee where your path will lead you; however, wherever it leads, always try your best and remember to be true to who you are, your values and beliefs,” he said.

Salutatorian Nicole Joseph reflected on all the things she learned about herself during her high school track career. She also urged her peers to take care of themselves.

“As we enter the next race in our lives, self-reflection and self-growth will be indispensable,” she said. “Suddenly, we will be met with important decisions, and it will sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Our generation is the first where mental health issues, especially depression, have reached an almost epidemic level. So, please, I beg you all to take care of yourselves and treat both your mind and body well.”

Valedictorian Aisha Abdelhamid compared the Class of 2019’s journey to skipping a rock in a lake.

“Six years ago when we first entered through the doors of Memorial, we skipped a rock into the lake, and you can imagine what that did,” she said. “Each skip created ripples in the water, so when we reflect on ourselves now, we can see the change we went through. Every person’s reflection shows the parts of them that rose and the parts that fell. Our futures lie in that skipped rock and in all of the rocks we decided to skip from that moment on. Be the ripple and the wave that makes a great change.”

Musical performances by the school’s select choir and senior high school band were highlights of the ceremony, which continued with the awarding of diplomas and the traditional tossing of the caps.