By Thomas Fruhau
Some see a graduation ceremony as a goodbye, but for this Manhasset High School alum, it always feels more like a welcome. On Friday evening, June 22, friends and family sat shoulder to shoulder with one another to watch the 98th commencement ceremony.
The class officers rang the bell and the 292 graduates walked out of Manhasset High School to start the ceremony after faculty, administrators and special guests took their seats.
Principal Dr. Dean Schlanger introduced the class of 2018 President Madeline Clinton, who led the audience through the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Manhasset Symphonic Orchestra’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Clinton then reflected on her class’s development over the past four years.
Todd L. Quin, the class historian, welcomed Salutatorian Alexander Mazer to the podium. Mazer’s advice was, “Just find what you love. Find what you are passionate about, and don’t grab it, let it grab you and let it take you wherever it wants to go. Follow it and follow it blindly if you must. But trust yourself from the start and let that fire you had on day one carry you all the way to day 1,000.”
Richard Bennet, president of the Silver M Society, announced the Silver M recipients. Next, Valedictorian Ryan Chung acknowledged our similarities as people, but said, “It’s that 0.1 percent that makes us whole, that 0.1 percent that allows us to find our potential.”
The class treasurer Whitney Newman presented the Class of 2018 gift to Board of Education President Regina Rule. The gift was 12 interior signs that will be hung around the secondary buildings.
Class advisor Marcela Sepe spoke to the graduating class about expanding their horizons, challenging the students to, “Take a risk; take that Basket Weaving 101 class, or the Intro to German class, experience love and passion. Whether it be for a subject or love for a person.”
Dr. Schlanger then gave his graduation bestowal and each of the students walked up to receive their diplomas. Family members cheered as their child’s name was called. Finally, when all the students were back to their seats, Gabriella Stein, the 2018 class vice president, led the students in turning the tassel. After the graduates sang the Manhasset High School Alma Mater, family and friends flooded the area around the bleachers to take photos.
Superintendent Dr. Vincent Butera had this to say after his first Manhasset High School graduation, “I would like to congratulate the Class of 2018. They have demonstrated effort and excellence in academics, athletics, the arts and in so many different activities. Their capacity for good and kindness has been a privilege to witness. I wish each of our graduates much success and happiness in all their future endeavors.”
For those alums in the audience, like me, graduation is a gathering of old friends and role models that can reconnect over this common experience. I wish the class of 2018 good luck and welcome them into this larger community of Manhasset alums.