Members of Elmont Memorial High School’s Class of 2018 entered the school’s 61st annual commencement on June 24 filled with emotion as they readied to embark on a new chapter.
During the ceremony, the students heard remarks from class president Rodney Legrand and salutatorian Laila Choudhry, who gave an eloquent address.
“In the world we live in today, we cannot just stand by and stay silent,” Laila said. “We cannot just wait for others to make a change. We cannot be willing to succumb to the beliefs of others when we know in our hearts we are being wronged. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ We are not from America first. We are not from New York first. We are not residents of Elmont first. What we are first are human beings. And the sooner we realize our humanity is what truly defines us, the sooner we will be stronger as a people.”
Valedictorian Dominique Browne told students life was about the journey, not the destination.
“I may have taken the road less traveled to get to this point, but it is the support system I have behind me both at home and at Elmont Memorial High School that truly made the difference. It was never about the destination. We find our true identity, our steadfast confidants and our strengths in the journey,” she said.
New York State Senators Elaine Phillips and Todd Kaminsky and Sewanhaka Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ralph Ferrie also addressed the students, as did Principal Kevin Dougherty, who told students, “The world needs you.”
“No matter what you wish your story to be, it is imperative to remember that writing your story will not always come easy. You must stay steadfastly focused on your goals if you wish to see them through,” he said. “The last and most important piece of advice I wish to leave you as you go out to write your own story is vote. Always vote for what you believe in. For all its issues we are lucky enough to live in a country where the voice of the people is still able to be heard and it is on you to make sure your voice counts.”
The milestone ceremony was highlighted by incredible musical performances by the Senior Select Choir and the school’s concert band. It concluded with students being presented their diplomas and the singing of the school’s alma mater.