The Future Looks Bright for the Class of 2018
Bright sunshine parted morning clouds as the Oyster Bay High School Class of 2018 received their diplomas on the front lawn of the school on Sunday, June 24.
In Oyster Bay tradition, the ceremony began at the stroke of noon as graduating seniors in caps and gowns filed out of the building led by flag bearers from the junior class. Circling around the audience on the front lawn, the seniors marched up two isles and a flight of stairs to take their seats on a concrete “stage” in front of the school as Pomp and Circumstance played in the background.
Graduating senior John Wieboldt led the Pledge of Allegiance and graduating members of the Chamber Singers led the audience in The Star Spangled Banner. Graduating seniors in American Sign Language (ASL) signed the song under the guidance of ASL teacher Dr. Nicolle Sisia.
Steeped in tradition and pride in community, Oyster Bay High School Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher called Oyster Bay “a gem among Long Island schools” and proved that point by inviting the many parents and grandparents who attended Oyster Bay schools to stand up. In her remarks, she encouraged students to “use your voice” to affect change and to “set your expectations high and your dreams higher.”
Salutatorian Terrance Cameron thanked parents, teachers, coaches and friends, saying, “You were the ones pushing us to do our best from the day we walked into the rainbow-paved halls of Roosevelt.” He illustrated, with pride, the tight-knit community where everyone takes care of each other, supports each other and celebrates each other’s accomplishments. “We have Ivy League students, a Division I-bound champ, county champs all around, vloggers, and aspiring musicians, from choir to jazz band. And one thing that is great about our small community is that we cherish these accomplishments, and show everyone and their mother what's going on in the small town of Oyster Bay.”
Superintendent of School Dr. Laura Seinfeld shared that she’s been watching the Class of 2018. “In every single instance of walking through the doors of Oyster Bay High School over my 10 years serving this amazing District, a student has held the door to the building open for me, and for others. … similar to how you have opened those doors for us, I know our District has opened doors for you. You have been provided with opportunities for deep and meaningful learning within and beyond the classroom. You have impressed us in your classwork, college acceptances and future planning. You have inspired us on the stage, on the field, and in your service to others. Doors to amazing colleges, careers, the military … to your future, have been opened for you in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District.”
Valedictorian Sahill Yadav embraced change with this advice for his fellow classmates: “My dad always told me, ‘If there’s something I wanted to do tomorrow, I’d do it today, and if there’s something I wanted to do today, I’d do it now.’ For you, Class of 2018, what I’m trying to say is that the decisions we make each day steer the courses of our lives…. What many people don’t realize is that discomfort is the catalyst for progression. The very thing you’ve been avoiding, can be the very same thing that will help you find happiness…. Everything we’ve ever wanted is one step outside our comfort zone, and right now, we have the chance to define their boundaries.”
After a musical performance by the graduating Chamber Singers, Board Trustee Dr. Alexandra (Aliex) Ross took the podium saying she hoped the education in the District helped the Class of 2018 find courage and the strength to persevere so they may overcome any situation life puts before them. Returning to the podium, Ms. Lasher presented the Beekman Medal -- the highest honor bestowed on an Oyster Bay High School graduating senior -- to Maggie Frankel for demonstrating the outstanding qualities that the medal upholds. She also acknowledged Sahill Yadav for earning the prestigious title of National Merit Scholar and winning a scholarship. Sahill, along with Jason Plaia, Jonathan Wong, and Trevor Lee were congratulated for earning the more advanced 21st Century Diploma. Two members of the Class of 2018, Richard Kertatos and Ariana Paone, were recognized for choosing to serve our country in the armed forces.
Next, National Honor Society President Jodi Yeh, on behalf of the seniors of National Honor Society, recognized retired teacher Ms. Kathy Reilly as an extraordinary educator and as a National Honor Society Honorary Inductee.
Then for the moment everyone was waiting for. Ms. Lasher presented the Class of 2018 and Board Trustee Dr. Michael Castellano presented the seniors with their diplomas. Once the last diploma was handed out, Student Council Executive Board President Lindsey Tiberia stood before the class and directed them to move their tassel from right to left. As Ms. Lasher congratulated the new graduates, their mortarboards went flying in the air amid cheers and applause from the audience. Pomp and Circumstance played once more as the graduates hugged and congratulated one another before joining their families and friends. Congratulations and best of luck, Class of 2018!