Floral Park Memorial High School’s 2018 valedictorian Sammy Huang told his fellow graduates to “get lost” during his speech at Saturday’s ceremony.
Although, he added, he’ll probably see half of them at St. John’s University with him next year.
Huang said he spent most of his elementary school years in Seattle, Wash., where he had to take a long bus ride to and from school, and usually fell asleep.
One time, he missed his stop and a good Samaritan noticed he was still on the bus and woke him up, Huang said.
The bus driver asked which street was his stop, and rather than saying he didn’t know, Huang pointed to a random spot on the map and had the bus driving in circles, Huang said.
“I was lost, but it’s okay to be lost if being lost leads to self-discovery,” Huang said. “…You may miss your stop and spend 20 minutes in circles, but you will get home.”
Salutatorian, Italia Gorski, thanked the faculty and staff at Floral Park Memorial during her speech.
“I have no horror stories to tell,” Gorski said. “I never doubted that all my teachers had nothing but desire to see me and my classmates excel.”
Class president Diana Santoro told her fellow graduates that their time at Floral Park Memorial has given them “enough memories to last a lifetime.”
Dr. Sarah Cerrone, the commencement speaker and salutatorian of the class of 2004, told the graduates that the lessons they learned at Floral Park Memorial will guide them in the future.
Cerrone added that graduates should feel confident that no matter where they go, the Floral Park community is never too far away.
The graduates also heard from state Sen. Elaine Phillips who told them that at some point in the near future, no matter what path they take, they will be asked to be a leader at.
Phillips gave the students advice in the form of an acronym – because government is filled with them, she joked.
The key to unlocking the potential as a leader is LEAD: listening, effort, appreciation and determination, Phillips said.
“Today is a time to rejoice, a time for congratulations,” Phillips said. “But today also brings an opportunity to make a commitment to yourself, a commitment to lead.”