By Rosemary Leonetti.
The weather couldn’t have been more delightful on the evening of June 21, making the Marion Street field the perfect setting to see the Lynbrook High School Class of 2013 off into the world.
With the familiar strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” filling the air, the graduates were greeted by a deafening round of applause as they filed onto the field in a glistening wave of green and gold.
In her salutatory address, aptly titled “Anything but Fear,” Melissa Epstein looked back on her first day of high school as a new transfer student and recalled how frightened and alone she felt, wondering if she would ever make friends.
“I stand before you today, a little nervous — not going to lie — but no longer having that familiar fear thanks to all the great experiences I’ve had,” she said. “I’ve learned that with the right attitude and some confidence, a new situation shouldn’t be approached with fear, but rather as an adventure that can take you wherever you want.”
Valedictorian SoEun Lee used the image of footprints in the sand of time to reflect on the past four years.
“The fact is, they were a long four years of not just studying and taking tests, but also of seeing the world around us make footprints in our generation’s history,” she said. “We’ve survived together through the ups and downs of high school and we’ve engraved our footprints on Lynbrook High School. We have all worked toward different goals and successes. Strive for your own definition of success and satisfaction. Leave behind a footprint that defines you and only you.”
Principal Joseph Rainis thanked the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce, the Lynbrook Police Department and the Department of Public Works for providing the seniors with a great kickoff to the prom at their annual pre-prom party. He also thanked Fly with the Owls and the Lynbrook Village Recreation Department for hosting the annual post-prom breakfast.
He then went on to highlight the moments and events that set this class apart, gaining them acceptance to more than 220 top colleges and universities and earning them more than $14 million in scholarships.
“As you know, the senior class sets the tone for the building,” he noted, addressing the graduates. “After the year we’ve experienced, the example you set for the younger students could not have been better. This evening is a celebration of your accomplishments, your community service and your resilience.”
Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak then shared her thoughts about being thankful. She began by acknowledging the tenacity, determination and courage that this class exhibited on the road to success.
“You are some class, and we beam with pride
when in your presence,” she said. “But keep in mind that happiness is not about
just attaining your goals, but valuing people and events you have in your life
for what they truly mean to you. It is not about changing
and achieving all the time. It is about being who you are and appreciating what
As diplomas were dispensed, the graduates were congratulated by Dr. Burak, Mr. Rainis and members of the Board of Education. One of the most touching moments of the ceremony came when board trustee Robert Paskoff congratulated daughter Rose with a proud hug as he presented her with her diploma.
As tradition dictates, the proud graduates moved their tassels from right to left, tossed their caps in the air and completed their recessional march to a round of thunderous applause.