Proudly capping off their years of hard work and dedication in the district, the seniors of the Class of 2016 celebrated their graduation on June 24.
One by one, students’ names were announced as they received their diplomas and congratulations from Board of Education members, curriculum associates, Superintendent Eva J. Demyen and Principal James Cummings, who is leaving the high school to become the district’s assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services.
The ceremony began with the processional by members of the American Celtic Pipe Band, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by Student Council President Papri Basu, and the national anthem, performed by Alec Winters. Music was provided by the Deer Park High School Symphonic Band and the Ninth Grade Band under the direction of Jerry Cannarozzo.
Imploring his fellow graduates to “relish the moment,” salutatorian Peter Demopoulos, the senior class president, said, “You spent the last four years of your life resetting the clock. We have reached the pinnacle of our education, yet this is only the beginning.”
After senior vocalists performed the high school’s alma mater, valedictorian Kathryn Block addressed the Class of 2016.
“So many of you have real-life experiences, and that’s what really matters,” Block said. “Life is not about the destination…it’s about the journey.”
The guest commencement speaker was Cindy True, the valedictorian of the Class of 2006. She stressed that the graduates should take chances, saying, “My only life regrets came from the chances I did not take.”
“Each of you rose to the occasion over the last four years,” Cummings said during his principal’s address. “I couldn’t be prouder of what you’ve accomplished. My challenge to you is to make a difference in the world. Ultimately, you’ll be judged by the friends you kept and the way you treated people. Always remember that.”
The graduates moved their tassels and tossed their caps in the air as the high school phase of their educational adventure was completed.
Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Frank Caliguiri, retiring after 26 years in the district, shared some words at what was his final graduation.
“As I sat down to write, there were so many things going through my head,” Caliguiri said. “When you think about it, we’re all going through the same thing…all entering a new phase in our lives. Never forget where you came from. Always have a sense of pride because you’re from Deer Park.”