The afternoon thundershowers that once again forced the Lynbrook High School commencement indoors did nothing to dampen the spirits of seniors and their families as they prepared to celebrate the accomplishments of the 244 proud graduates of the class of 2012.
With the familiar strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” filling the air, the graduates were greeted by a deafening round of applause as they entered the gymnasium forming a wave of green and gold.
Fondly recounting the journey he and his classmates shared, salutatorian Timothy Keegan said, “It seems like yesterday we were all hopping on the bus to the Kindergarten Center, hoping we would get a ‘happy gram.’ Because we attended Lynbrook, we have grown from those cute young kindergartners into fine, ready-to-excel graduates. Because we attended Lynbrook, we no longer see failures as endings; we see them as challenges.
"We know what it takes to overcome failures and obstacles," he added. "We will continue to care, continue to strive forward.”
In her valedictory address, entitled “Unafraid,” Ilana Ajzenman quoted the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anna Quindlen, who once said she “majored in the unafraid.”
“To me,” Ilana said, “majoring in the unafraid means being willing to take risks. Fortune favors the bold, and we will never know what we are capable of unless we try. This September, we won’t be coming together for the first day of school, but we will be taking our first fearless steps into the world. I hope that as we move on to our futures, we can all be unafraid together.”
Principal Joseph Rainis highlighted the moments and events that set this class apart, gaining them acceptance to more than 280 top colleges and universities while earning them more than $15 million in scholarship offers. He proudly noted that a full 93 percent of the class earned Regents diplomas, with 63 percent fulfilling the requirements for a Regents diploma with advanced designation and 28 percent earning Regents diplomas with advanced designation with honors.
In addition to excelling in the classroom, these seniors brought pride to their community through their achievements in the fine and performing arts, athletics and community service. In closing, Rainis passed on seven pieces of advice to this year’s graduates.
“Be early, don’t mess around, become an expert at what you do, maintain high standards, always extend yourselves to others, maintain balance in your lives and look for the humor and wonder in every day," he said.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Santo Barbarino recalled the happy moments of the week leading up to this day, including the hosted by the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce and the post-prom breakfast sponsored by the Lynbrook Recreation Center and Fly with the Owls Inc. . He then went on to recall many remarkable moments of individual and group accomplishments.
Barbarino closed with these simple and wise words of advice: “Help those who need you. Do not consider yourselves invincible. Love your families, and remember to tell them you love them,” adding, “As you prepare to leave here, don’t forget to keep in touch with your Lynbrook family. Always remember this is your home.”
As diplomas were dispensed, the graduates were congratulated by Barbarino, Rainis and members of the board of education. One of the most touching moments of the ceremony came when board trustee Ellen Marcus congratulated her son Alexander with a proud hug as she presented him with his 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.