Syosset HS Conducts 60th Commencement Exercise

Congratulations Syosset High School Class of 2018 photo

Approximately 560 seniors in Syosset High School’s Class of 2018 took their turn at the podium to accept their high school diplomas during the school’s 60th annual commencement, held at Hofstra University. 

Following the traditional processional march performed by the Syosset High School orchestra and “The Star-Spangled Banner” from the Adelettes and Choral Pride, Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante delivered the welcoming remarks before addressing the graduates.

This year’s class was highlighted with eight National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, 43 Commended Students, three Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars, one Siemens Competition regional finalist and one semifinalist, and one National Merit Scholar, as well and numerous other award winners in math, science and writing.

“I have seen the great work you have done inside and outside the classroom and I want you all to know I believe in you, I have confidence in you, and I look forward to hearing about all of your future successes,” said Dr. Durante to the Class of 2018, praising them for demonstrating the virtues of Syosset pride: patience, respect, integrity, dignity and empathy. 

The evening also featured inspirational speeches from Board of Education President Dr. Michael Cohen and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers, class speaker Brooke Lewitas, valedictorian Jarrad Li and salutatorian Daniel Israel.

Dr. Rogers confessed that he consulted some class members for inspiration in preparing his address, which ultimately focused on passion. 

“Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg used his 2017 commencement address at Harvard to talk about the ideas on the horizon like universal income and necessity for a basic living stipend should robots or artificial intelligence take away all of our jobs,” Dr. Rogers said. “That horizon does not exactly inspire my most passionate thought, but I don’t think that your generation is so unimaginative that you won’t simply invent entirely new vocations.”

Brooke spoke about the openness of the school staff, its willingness to listen to students and the overall dedication to the student body’s success. “I can honestly say that I am proud to have gone to a school that worked hard in every opportunity to give us an education that would make us into citizens capable of enacting change.” 

Daniel put a humorous spin on the four years at Syosset High School, and how some adapted from the onset of their freshmen years, while others took a little more time to settle into the culture of the high school. “Fortunately, with time, we grew, we discovered, we felt safe with ourselves. It didn’t matter if it was a sport, a subject, or a club or even yet a group, because, it was ours!”

Jarrad told the Class of 2018 how proud he was of all of them and how he was rooting for everyone’s success. “It’s been an incredible ride and it’s amazing to see how far we all have come. What lies ahead is a road of wonderful new opportunities and discoveries. Challenge yourselves. And don’t be afraid of obstacles, as they are there to help you become a stronger and better person. It’s not about whether you get knocked down, it’s about whether or not you get back up. We may encounter many defeats in the future but we must not be defeated. College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make the most of it. Be the best you can be and never lose track of who you are.”

Class President Andrew Goldman and Vice President Zachary Chan presented the class gift: a special plaque engraved with inspirational messaging that will be placed near the entrance of Syosset High School for every student to see upon entering the building.

Dr. Durante honored students who received scholarly recognitions. Members of Syosset’s PTA/STA presented scholarship awards, as did members of SEPTA.

The commencement culminated with each student walking up to receive their diploma and the traditional cap toss. While the 60th class of Syosset High School said farewell for now, many undoubtedly will be heard from again.