Deer Park High School 50th Commencement

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To commemorate Deer Park High School’s 50th commencement ceremony, the Class of 2013 donned the district’s original robe colors of maroon and white, while the American Celtic Pipe Band led students in procession to the school’s front lawn. The graduation paid tribute to the school’s legacy and looked toward the future of graduates.  

Superintendent of Schools Eva J. Demyen shared a personal story about Superstorm Sandy to draw correlations between the growth of students and their ability to overcome challenges throughout the years. She encouraged students to find their way through life, make smart decisions and, most importantly, enjoy the journey. Since their freshman year, senior class advisers Jessica Adamo and Kristen Small have formed strong relationships with students. The pair addressed the graduates, thanking the group for the unique memories and special events shared, including fundraisers, dances and group achievements.

Elected by her peers, Senior Class President Nicolette Tortorici emphasized the feeling of community and reinforced that the class will leave the high school knowing who they are and that they have all had an impact on one another. Salutatorian Jordan Rios, who will be attending Cornell University in the fall, reflected on what the students had survived and what they will leave behind as a class. A sense of unity was felt in his words as he described how the class was together at the start, supported one another, and will now venture out to sow new seeds. Valedictorian Tyler Doogan, who has been accepted into the University of Buffalo’s Honors Program, directed his peers to face the future head-on. He explained that while the future is unknown, it is filled with limitless possibilities, and while there are no certainties or guarantees, one should follow his head and heart.  
 
In Deer Park tradition, the valedictorian from 10 years prior served as the honorary guest commencement speaker. This year, Class of 2003 co-valedictorian Dr. Thomas DePrima spoke to students directly and identified the commencement as “a day about you, and a celebration of you.” He reminded students that they are entering a new phase of their lives that holds more freedoms to make decisions, and that while these decisions may have lifelong impacts, they can always be edited. With so much at stake, he instructed students to employ a healthy skepticism, conduct their own research and carefully consider the advice they receive.   

Principal James Cummings highlighted the class’s achievements in the areas of academics, arts and athletics and drew upon the class’s yearbook theme, “lucky.” He reminded students that luck was only a small part of their success, and that it was their hard work and dedication to their education that had created for them these rewarding opportunities.   

The Board of Education, administrators and faculty then presented the awarding of diplomas to the Class of 2013, after which the Deer Park High School Symphonic Band and the ninth-grade band, under the direction of Jerry Cannarozzo, closed out the festive milestone event.