By Ethan Marshall
The Wheatley School held its graduation ceremony for the class of 2021 on a beautiful Sunday morning.
In the latest sign of a return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony took place outside the school with a large gathering of friends, family, faculty and the 147 graduates. It was fitting that the ceremony coincided with Father’s Day, which made a great present for dads seeing their children graduate from high school.
East Williston, where the Wheatley School is located, is one of only three school districts on Long Island that were open for students during the school year starting in September. Students and faculty underwent constant health screenings, wore masks each day and followed social distancing protocols in order to ensure safety.
Wheatley School Principal Dr. Sean C. Feeney spoke about how proud he was of the students doing their best to keep themselves and others safe while also expressing relief at the pandemic’s finally coming to an end.
“It’s simply wonderful to see faces I had not seen in full in over 15 months,” Dr. Feeney said. “Celebrate today. You’ve earned this occasion and certainly deserve it!”
The ceremony also included musical performances by several graduating students. Alexandra Levine sang the “Star-Spangled Banner;” a student musical group, “Take Two,” comprised of Nadeem Al-Okla, Benjamin Gilbert, Shruti Goyal, Aarushi Jain, Frederick Lin, Ari Mizhiritsky and Neil Shah, performed a cover of the song “Good Old Days” by Macklemore and Kaileigh Fiorillo; and Eric Ness performed a cover of “The Climb,” originally written by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe and performed by Miley Cyrus.
Additionally, Class President Manav Bansal, Sarah Hassan and Huda Ayaz spoke to their fellow graduates, with the latter two reading essays they wrote about their high school experiences.