Floral Park Memorial High School held its 62nd annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, saying farewell to the class of 2019 as valedictorian Kyle Sahadero predicted success for the graduates.
The 250 Floral Park graduates had an afternoon of celebration and reflection at Hofstra University’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
The ceremony started with introductory remarks from Principal Maria Hecht, followed by a flag salute by class Vice President Andrew Gervasi and a rendition of the national anthem by senior choral members.
The anthem was followed by salutatorian Tara Tam, who said that now was the time to become independent and grow up. Tam said, “Anyone else could tell you what to do and how to do it, but it won’t be a reflection of you.”
She continued, “It won’t be representative of your own effort, your own connections, your own success and your own satisfaction. Our adventures start with us choosing our destinations. So pick your destination and enjoy the journey.”
Ralph P. Ferrie, who is retiring as Sewanhaka Central High School District superintendent, delivered his final message to the Floral Park graduates, saying, “Following graduation, each of you will have different aspirations and will pursue different goals in life.”
He continued, “Remember, in addition to academic, social, athletic or artistic success, please continue to pay close attention to your values and character development.”
Ferrie was awarded a gift from the class of 2019 after his speech.
His farewell to Floral Park Memorial was followed by a rendition of Rossano Galante’s “Afterlife” by the high school band.
Sahadero addressed the class, encouraging its members to not be afraid as they head into college or the workforce.
“The uncertainty of what’s to come may seem frightening, and maybe you don’t have your life planned out right now, and that’s OK. I sure don’t, but I know that we’ll succeed,” Sahadero said.
Sahadero’s address was followed by a cover of Kirby Shaw’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Floral Park Memorial High School’s L.I. Sounds.
Class President Chris Lauria then gave a farewell address, saying, “The past couple of years have flown by for some of us and then others graduation couldn’t have come sooner. Whichever group you fall into, I think we could all agree our time at Floral Park has been memorable.”
Hecht commended the “very special class,” noting that about 96 percent of the class will be attending college in the fall.
After the diplomas were handed out by the superintendent and school board, members of the graduating class turned their tassels, and threw their caps to the sky.