Walt Whitman Graduation 2013

Mother Nature gave a small window of opportunity for a beautiful outdoor graduation ceremony.
Mother Nature gave a small window of opportunity for a beautiful outdoor graduation ceremony.
Valedictorian, Sarah Ann Riordan took her classmates down memory lane that was a year not to forget.
Valedictorian, Sarah Ann Riordan took her classmates down memory lane that was a year not to forget.
Principal Acker congratulates her ‘Forever Resilient’ seniors.
Principal Acker congratulates her ‘Forever Resilient’ seniors.
"You are the reason that your parents get up each and every morning. You are the reason for their sacrifices and you are the affirmation of their life’s work and I know they are proud beyond words right now." Superintendent Bennardo.
The ladies are ready to move on.
The ladies are ready to move on.
With so many graduation ceremonies indoors because of the weather, the guys all agreed…outdoor is so much better.
With so many graduation ceremonies indoors because of the weather, the guys all agreed…outdoor is so much better.
Seated, your South Huntington Board of Education; left to right: Laura Carey, Linda LaCara, Edward J. Nitkewicz, J.D.,  BOE President Jim Kaden, BOE Vice President Nicholas R. Ciappetta, J.D., and Lisa Brieff. Standing left to right South Huntington Administrators: Dr. Joseph Centamore, Dr. David P. Bennardo, Mrs. Jacqueline Harris, Dr. Jared Bloom, Mrs. April Poprilo, and Dr. Matthew Krivoshey.
Seated, your South Huntington Board of Education; left to right: Laura Carey, Linda LaCara, Edward J. Nitkewicz, J.D., BOE President Jim Kaden, BOE Vice President Nicholas R. Ciappetta, J.D., and Lisa Brieff. Standing left to right South Huntington Administrators: Dr. Joseph Centamore, Dr. David P. Bennardo, Mrs. Jacqueline Harris, Dr. Jared Bloom, Mrs. April Poprilo, and Dr. Matthew Krivoshey.
Caps fly in this annual tradition.
Caps fly in this annual tradition.

It certainly hasn’t always been the case, but this year Mother Nature smiled on the Whitman seniors, their families, and friends and provided a perfect window of opportunity for high school graduation. A strong, cool breeze greeted the 441 Whitman seniors who were poised to begin the next step in their lives. Students, guests, and family members heard from Board of Education President Jim Kaden, District Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo, and Whitman Principal Kathleen Acker. After a little less than 2 hours, Whitman’s salutatorian, Matthew LoCastro, and this year’s valedictorian, Sarah Ann Riordan, along with their 2013 senior classmates, began a new and promising chapter in their young lives.

In his commencement message, President Kaden used the 1950 movie Harvey, which starred Jimmy Stewart, to bring home his point. “If we are limited to seeing only that which is, rather than that which may be, we would likely still be living in caves. It is good to suspend disbelief from time to time when considering what may be possible, as that is where innovation lies. Take the time to wonder,” said Kaden, who ended his commencement message by encouraging the seniors to “take a deep breath, take stock of where you are going, and move on, making the most of each day. Each of you has much to be proud of, and we are proud of you.”

BOE President Kaden’s complete commencement speech will be printed in the mid-July issue of Spotlight.

Principal Acker, who will be adding a brick to the PTA Community Walk dedicated to this year’s class, called them the “Class of 2013- Forever Resilient.”  She gave the graduates some advice, which included the following:

1. Determine where you want to begin.
Establish goals. Select your next step and jump in with both feet.

2. Remain focused.
It is so important to remain focused on your goal.

3. Always believe that you can.
I said this in my video yearbook interview, and I meant it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.

4.Celebrate small victories.
I truly believe that if you experience small victories, it will provide you with the impetus to go on and pave your way to success.

5. Don’t ever forget where you came from.
OK, so here you are: your high school graduation. Now look back and reflect on all those people who helped you out along the way.

6. Embrace failure.
You will experience failure. I know that sounds like a very negative statement, but it’s an inevitable part of life. There are very few people who have risen to the pinnacle of success without facing some form adversity and failure. It is how you respond to this failure that is important.

Principal Acker ended her message with the words of the great Dr. Seuss:

"You're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so . . . get on your way!"

Principal Acker’s complete commencement speech will be printed in the mid-July issue of Spotlight.

Superintendent Bennardo echoed Principal Acker's sentiments about the class of ’13 when he said, “I consider myself so incredibly fortunate to have come to South Huntington in a year when the class of 2013 was at the top of the pyramid. Your positive energy was contagious, and your personalities remarkably warm and embracing. I knew that each and every time I visited the high school, my spirit would be refreshed by the amazing people in this senior class.”

“So now as we say goodbye, I want to leave you with the same four parting wishes that I have offered to graduating seniors for 25 years. I hope you take a piece of high school pride with you into the next phase of your life. I hope you find college life rewarding and that you fall in love with your new school the way Walt Whitman High School did with you. I hope you find a career that makes it a pleasure to get up in the morning and keeps you proud each and every day. I hope you meet a person whose eyes you can stare into one day and say I do, knowing that you have met a soul mate that will be by your side for the rest of your life. I hope you know the blessing of having a son or daughter wrap their arms around you when they can first speak and say, Mommy, Daddy, you're my best friend. I hope you know the blessings of good health. I hope you are close with your own parents and recognize their love and wisdom for many years to come. And I hope you keep the South Huntington community in your hearts for the rest of your lives.”

Superintendent Bennardo’s complete commencement speech will be printed in the mid-July issue of Spotlight. 

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2013


View the Slide show: Photo Gallery