As the child of a single mother, Roslyn High School salutatorian Ella Eisenberg knows the importance of a wide family safety net.
During her speech at the 122nd annual Roslyn High School commencement ceremony Friday at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, Eisenberg praised her fellow 257 classmates for making it to the graduation stage but reminded them every student had a host of friends, family and mentors behind his or her successes.
“There’s a reason we require such a large venue to host this event, for in front of me, I see the faces of those who allowed those behind me to reach the stage we’re at, to achieve what we have and to get through it all better than where we started,” Eisenberg said. “I see the mothers and fathers and guardians and grandparents and siblings and aunts and uncles and friends and mentors that have helped make us the people sitting proud before you.”
Eisenberg described the dedication of her mother and her two grandparents who spent countless hours dedicated to improving her life.
Eisenberg said during her Roslyn Middle School moving up ceremony, the students were celebrated and the parents were thanked, but the grandparents were also asked to stand and be recognized for their contributions to their grandchildren.
“When my grandmother stood up, proud, with the other grandparents to overwhelming applause, it was I that felt proud of her and thankful for the role she and my grandfather had played in my life and schooling,” Eisenberg said. “I realized that from driving me to and from countless activities and to school when I couldn’t take the bus and helping me with homework and studying and being there to support me at all of my concerts and competitions and working every day so we could afford to keep living in this amazing but admittedly pretty costly district.
“They made everything I have done possible, and I’m not alone in this.”
Taking a note from her middle school ceremony, Eisenberg asked the grandparents to be recognized once again, and dozens stood to a wild round of applause from the audience as well as graduates.
The Roslyn High School Senior Chorus performed throughout the ceremony, opening with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Roslyn High School Alma Mater and finishing with “At the Beginning,” from Disney’s “Anastasia.”
During the ceremony, Principal Scott Andrews focused his thoughts on enlightenment for his now former students, sharing a few words from the Dalai Lama.
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck,” Andrews said. “Don’t let a little dispute end a friendship. Spend some time alone every day. A loving atmosphere in your home is the best foundation for life. Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.”
Valedictorian Adam Robbins wished the Class of 2018 well on the journey beyond the halls of Roslyn High School, quoting Thomas Jefferson’s preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
“We will now leave the sheltered familiarity of our homes and families to begin the momentous task of building those futures,” Robbins said. “We, however, have not been sitting idly by the past 18 years. Cognizant of it or not, since birth we have been preparing for this rite of passage, preparing to discard the training wheels for the thrilling freedom of adulthood.”