As a freshman at Paul D. Schreiber High School, Derek Knight said he’d bring eight pencils to a vocabulary quiz – just in case the first seven broke.
“Now, as a senior, I walk into an AP test saying ‘I swear I’m 100 percent sure nobody told me I needed a pencil for this,'” said Knight, who gave the commencement address at Port Washington’s high school graduation on Thursday afternoon.
Knight’s changed in more ways than just his stationary habits during his time at Schreiber, he said, noting that his fellow classmates also grew both physically and mentally, too.
For example, Knight said he now has all these “gems of knowledge” like the Pythagorean theorem and “that other thing which I forgot already.”
As the graduates move on in their lives, they should “never try and be someone that they’re not,” Knight said.
They should also never forget the power of community, Knight said.
“It can be difficult to go through anything alone,” Knight said.
Principal Ira Pernick also encouraged the graduates to “resist the sorting process” that awaits them when they leave high school during his address.
“Remember what has brought you all together even when the temptation to split apart is strongest,” Pernick said.
As Knight, Pernick, Assistant Principal Julie Torres, Superintendent Kathleen Mooney and Board of Education President Elizabeth Weisburd spoke to graduates, friends and family watched from bleachers and picnic blankets across the field surrounding the graduates.
Many attendees sat beneath umbrellas to shade them from the sunny skies and high 80-degree weather, as they waited for the graduates to cross the stage and get their diplomas.
During the ceremony, Weisburd also presented the annual Bogart Scholarship to Julia Kim.
In addition to her academic excellence, Kim is a talented musician and has demonstrated a love of the fine arts, Weisburd said.
Kim is also active in community service, and has not only participated in a wide array of extracurricular activities but also served in leadership roles in almost all, Weiburd said.
Kim was also one of two students tied for second in the 2018 graduating class.
Along with Kim, Rebecca Muratore finished second in the class.
Julia Ruskin was this year’s top student at Schreiber.