Whitman's Eighty-Fourth Commencement

Signifying that their years in high school are over, Walt Whitman seniors are ready for the next journey.
Signifying that their years in high school are over, Walt Whitman seniors are ready for the next journey.
Salutatorian Taylor Parrish spoke about growing up in the Whitman community, and reminisced about her family and how important they are to her.
Salutatorian Taylor Parrish spoke about growing up in the Whitman community, and reminisced about her family and how important they are to her.
This fall, Whitman’s 2014 Valedictorian, Thomas Hustedt, will be off to Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University in South Carolina to study engineering.
This fall, Whitman’s 2014 Valedictorian, Thomas Hustedt, will be off to Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University in South Carolina to study engineering.
“I could never thank you enough for the blanket of warmth that you have wrapped around our community.  You are truly remarkable.  God speed, class of 2014.  We love you very much,” Schools Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo.
“I could never thank you enough for the blanket of warmth that you have wrapped around our community. You are truly remarkable. God speed, class of 2014. We love you very much,” Schools Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo.
You are the first graduating class that I have had for all four years as the Principal of Walt Whitman High School. It has been a pleasure and honor watching you grow into the remarkable young adults that you are today.  I truly wish you a lifetime of success and dreams come true,” Walt Whitman Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker.
You are the first graduating class that I have had for all four years as the Principal of Walt Whitman High School. It has been a pleasure and honor watching you grow into the remarkable young adults that you are today. I truly wish you a lifetime of success and dreams come true,” Walt Whitman Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker.
Terhon Legros receives his diploma and is congratulated by the President of the Board of Education, Mr. Jim Kaden.
Terhon Legros receives his diploma and is congratulated by the President of the Board of Education, Mr. Jim Kaden.
Rachel Ulrich steps onstage to receive her diploma and is congratulated by Mr. Kaden.
Rachel Ulrich steps onstage to receive her diploma and is congratulated by Mr. Kaden.
After the ceremony concluded, most of the students and their families enjoyed a special time together taking photos and wishing each other the very best
After the ceremony concluded, most of the students and their families enjoyed a special time together taking photos and wishing each other the very best
Members of the BOE and administration begin the processional for Walt Whitman’s eighty-fourth commencement. Left to right: Dr. Dave Bennardo, Ms. Laura Carey, Mr. Nicholas Ciappetta, Ms. Michele DeGaetano, Dr. Jared Bloom, Ms. April Poprilo, Ms. Jacqueline Harris, Ms. Linda LaCara, Mr. Edward Nitkewicz, and Ms. Lisa Brieff.
Members of the BOE and administration begin the processional for Walt Whitman’s eighty-fourth commencement. Left to right: Dr. Dave Bennardo, Ms. Laura Carey, Mr. Nicholas Ciappetta, Ms. Michele DeGaetano, Dr. Jared Bloom, Ms. April Poprilo, Ms. Jacqueline Harris, Ms. Linda LaCara, Mr. Edward Nitkewicz, and Ms. Lisa Brieff.
The award winning Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Allan Deitz provided the traditional processional and recessional, while the Whitman Chorale, conducted by Mr. Steven Altinel, sang the National Anthem and the Alma Mater. A music interlude was conducted by Mr. Frank Yolango.
The award winning Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Allan Deitz provided the traditional processional and recessional, while the Whitman Chorale, conducted by Mr. Steven Altinel, sang the National Anthem and the Alma Mater. A music interlude was conducted by Mr. Frank Yolango.
Class President Kolawole “KB” Bamgbelu relaxes with a friend after the ceremony.
Class President Kolawole “KB” Bamgbelu relaxes with a friend after the ceremony.
In a little more than an hour and a half,  405 Walt Whitman seniors graduated under near perfect weather.
In a little more than an hour and a half, 405 Walt Whitman seniors graduated under near perfect weather.

It was a spectacular sun kissed morning that greeted the 405 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, Taylor Parrish, and this year’s Valedictorian, Thomas Hustedt, along with their 2014 senior classmates, began a new and promising chapter in their young lives.

In his commencement message, President Kaden offered the graduates some things to think about as they prepare to make their mark as a generation. “Learn to take an interest in what is going on in the world around you.  Seek out primary sources of information whenever possible and try to look at problems from many sides’” said Mr. Kaden.  “Get out of your comfort zone and attempt to see and understand other’s views of the same issues.  Show compassion and work to find solutions to problems by looking for common ground.  It is there more often than not.  Stand behind your opinions and don’t post anonymously what you wouldn’t put your name on.”

BOE President Kaden’s complete commencement speech will be printed in the mid-July issue of Spotlight as well as a separate website posting. 

Principal Acker shared some advice with her graduating class, which included the following: 

“Stay focused on being the best you can be rather than worrying about what others are doing.  You need to have a “can do” attitude instead of comparing yourself with the fear that you may not do as well as “they” are doing.  Focus on what you can achieve so that at the end of the day you will feel good about yourself no matter what the outcome.  An unknown author provides this quote:  "Do not follow where the path leads. Rather, go where there is no path and leave a trail."

“At this time I would like to share with you some advice from Larry Lucchino, the Boston Red Sox CEO and President (sorry Yankee fans).

•Life must be fun. Kindness is essential. Have a good time. Hurt as few people as possible.

•Be bold - do be prudent- but please take risks.

•Smile, laugh and be pleasant.

•Be strong enough to say. "I don't know".

•Life is too hard to be lived alone. Find time for your family and friends.

•Stay in touch with the people who matter to you.

•Hold within yourself a capacity for outrage at injustice.

•Don't be colorblind. Enjoy our enriching differences.

•Seek balance. A rich life is a balanced life.

•Help some people along the way. 

Principal Acker’s complete commencement speech will be printed in the mid-July issue of Spotlight as well as a separate website posting.

Superintendent Bennardo echoed Principal Acker's sentiments about the class of ’14 when he said, “Thank you, for lifting our spirits, raising our expectations, and reminding us that this community, this state, and even this nation, will soon be passed into gifted, caring, capable hands with you at the helm. Thank you for reminding us that the system really does work. For you stand as living proof that great parents working with caring schools and loving communities can produce amazing young leaders.”

“So now, as I say good-bye, I want to leave you with those same parting wishes that we give to every graduating class.  I hope you take a piece of South Huntington 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 we fell in love 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’ve met a soul mate that you’ll have for the rest of your life.  I hope you know the blessing of having a son or daughter wrap their arms around you and hear the words, “Mommy, Daddy, you’re my best friend.”  I hope you know the blessings of good health.  I hope you’re close with your own parents and recognize their wisdom for many, many years to come.  And, most of all, I hope you remember us and keep Walt Whitman High School alive 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 as well as a separate website story.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2014

Valedictorian- Thomas John Hustedt, Salutatorian- Taylor Christine Parrish, Eve Gabrielle Adamo, Dylan Adams, Kola Charles Adebola, Mauricio Aguilar Chavez, Sintia Aguilar, Gregory John-Joseph Ahlsen, Fawzan Syed Ahmed, Anfernee Jarod Aiken, Derya Akilmak, Yenifer Alas Martinez, Gaby Albarado, Rhiannon Alexander, Jonathan Alvarez, Richard Alvarez, Alex Alvarez-Alfaro, Marc Aparicio, Samantha S. Arabi, Charissa L. Arters, Kyle Stephen Arters, Ismael Avila, Christopher Aviles, Christopher B. Avino, Ruby Bafu, Kolawole Bamgbelu, Crystal Marie Barone, Jennifer Rose Barone, Brian D. Barrera, Michael Joseph Barrotta, Autumn Starr Bellamy, Jesus Beltran, Estefani Raquel Benitez, Wesley Betsch, Clauaysia Miya Betts, Shayla Regine Betts, Olivia Beyel, Jane N. Biedermann, Edward Birdsall, Benjamin Black, Savion W. Black, Robert W. Blum, Alexander J. Bonilla, Luis Alberto Bonilla, Nicolette Bono, Zachary Bowden, Bryan F. Boyce, Malik Brandon, Nolan James Braun, Liam P. Brennan, Devon Budzitowski, Kenneth Michael Burton Jr., Elizabeth Ashley Bushey, Jorge Bustos, Kelly Byrne, Joseph M. Calderone, Anthony Calvagna, Matthew Campanella, Jessie Alfedo Canales, Francesca Capasso Nicole Taylor Cardascia, Marcus Anthony Carde, Catherine Castagna, Douglas E. Castro, James Robert Charlton, Carrie Chen, Nicholas Ciccarone, Gina Cipriano, Thomas C. Ciravolo, Nicole I. Civello, Christina Mariann Clark, Kayla Noelle Collins, Kimberly A. Columbo, Joseph Matthew Connolly, Christopher Consolo, Corey M. Cook, James R. Corbett, Christopher Corbin, Ivander Cordero, Francisco Coreas, Israel Cortes, Jocelyn N. Creeron, Gerson Cruz, Richie Cuadra, Kristen Judith Cummings, Austin Curreri, Aubrey E. Daly, Tyana Marie Davenport, Brian Davila, Thomas DePasquale, Elise Miranda Efferen Deeg, Brianna Amanda DelColle, Christopher Delaney, Leydi Delcid, Joshua L. Dent, Emily Rose DiLillo, James A. DiRaimondo, Julian Diaz, Kevin Dickson, Amanda Rose Diliberti, John C. Donnelly, Rick E. Dormeus, Mariah Dowling, Brandon John Drum, Meaghan A. Duffy, Keiri Duran Campos, Samantha Dussel, Ariana Cecile Elmayan, Gerardo Escobar, Salvatore Neal Esposito, Tubah Farooq, Randall Feliciano, Jennifer Tess Fenwick, Anthony James Feola, Brittany Marie Ferrante, Theodore Flanc, Kevin Flores, Nicole Alexis Franz, Hana Elizabeth Fulfarr, Jacqueline M. Fusco, Sammaria Gaines, Maria J. Gallegos, Shivram Gandham, Bryan Garay, Claire P. Garcia, Duglas Garcia, Maxine Garcia, Nancy Garcia, Robert Garetano, Michael Nicholas Garone, Alexandra Elizabeth Gerard, Anthony L. Gervasio, Conner Geyer, Tyler Louis Gianchetta, Michael Gioe, Ryan P. Gioe, Brenda Givargidze, Peter Glodowski, Sarah Lynn Goehring, William Goldstein, Gabriel A. Gómez, Namra Gondal, Andrew M. González, Eddy F. Gonzalez, Jamie Ann Gonzalez, Ingris Gonzalez Reyes, Marilyn Granados, Joseph Grasso, Sarin E. Grey, Phillip Griffin, Christina Grimadeau, Christine Grimadeau, Daniel Guardado, Miguel Aris Guevara Aquino, Nadege Guirand, Zahra Haider, Tiffany Ann Halajian, Rouhma Halimi, Emily Haller, Brianna Moné Hamilton, Zirgham Haque, Patric Casey Harrington, Tyler Henderson, Allek A. Hendrickson, Betsy Henriquez, Darwin Hernandez, Diana Victoria Hess, Erika Christine Hess, Alexis Higuera-Ambriz, Austin Philip Hladki, Matthew Hoang, Michael Hoch, Lauren Hoffman, Stefanie Hoffmann, Diandra Hubbard, Saba Ilyas, Luke Patrick Ingle, Lesly M. Interiano, Nicholas Vincent Isernia, Ramani Jarrett, Elijah Joseph, Hurde Jourdain, Aren Roy Kabarajian, Andrew Kahl, Cassidy G. Kaht, Matthew William Kayden, Alexander J. Keane, Victoria Kehoe, Azam Latif Khan, Sabit Khan, Nicole Ashley Kleet, Joseph Kovarik, Edmund Krakehl, George Kulich III, David K. Kwakye, Katrina Nicolette LaTorre, James Lahm, Kevin Lahm, Marianne K. Laird,, Jordana Sarah Lanz, Gregory D. Ledbetter, Terhon J. Legros, Anthony R. Lella, Summer Lemke, Eric Leon, Alanna Lea Levy, Jaclene Rose Libardi, Berthin Lindor, Christopher R. Lobasso, Erika Rachel LoBasso, Vanessa Lopez Garcia, Carla Lucana, Anna Lupton Gonzalez, Yana Lyzhina, Rachid A. Macer, Anum Mahmood, Asad Mahmood, Patrick Malave, Jose Maldonado, Fatima E. Malik, Clifford Michael Saye Manie Jr., Danny Ryan Marino, Jimmy Marseille, Casey B. Martin, Cristian Martinez Flores, Vivian Martinez, Tristan S.Matty, Casey J. Mayer, Robert H. Maxwell, Tevel Mazor, Kerri Mc Donagh, Kyle Severo McManus, Rafael Medina Moctezuma, Jennifer Melendez, Emily Elizabeth Melinis, Wade J. Melnick, Alejandra Mendoza, Nikol Metaxa Rozenfeld, Fanny Migliore, Kinza Mirza, Alyssa L. Moletz, Laura Morales, Dinora Morales Moreno, Gladis Moreira-Crespo, Kelvin Moreira, Karen Moreno, Rixy Elizabeth Moreno Moreno, Keith Morrissey, Ebony Mudry, Samantha Myers-Dineen, Hekmat Naeemi, Yousaf Jamal Naqvi, Joseph A. Nau, Christina Irene Naughton, Kelsey Neal, Lauren Nicole Nemshin, Caroline Elizabeth Nolan, Vanessa Nolasco, Kevin O' Donnell, Nicholas Robert Oberle, John Oddo, Christopher Olberding, Daniel Edward Oliveau, Nicholas Russell Orlando, Alexandra Ortiz, Karla Aida Osorio Aparicio, Michael Ospina, Jessica Ottinot, Nicholas Paceleo, Michael Pagano, John Joseph Palazzolo, Justin Park, Travaun Patron, Angelou Ambroise Paul, Samuel J. Pelliccia, Noah J. Pettit, Mardoche Pierre, Roldine J. Pierre, Nicholas Anthony Pinelli, Sydney L. Pisano, Annalisa H. Poggioli, Meghan Polk, Michael V. Porcelli, Oscar Portillo, Nicholas Posillico, Robert Prestia, Amelia L. Profaci, Nicole Joe-Anne Quattrocchi, Erlish Quintanilla, Arcides Quintanilla Rivas, Shabana Amina Rafiq, Marvin Ramirez, Deyling N. Raudales, Lauren Ré, Kaitlin Reilly, Joshua Renderos, Julio Reyes, Yasly Reyes, Lovely Richard, Kristen Riordan, Wilbert Rivas, Sara B. Rivera, Kendron Ra-Shime Rivers, Amelia M. Rivoir, Kassidy C. Rodriguez, Kevin Rodriguez Gonzalez, Michael Rodriguez-Oliva, Andrew J. Rolleri, Chelsey Roman, Shannon Nicole Roulo, Cristian Anthony Ruiz, Michael Ruotolo, Kelly A. Rydberg, Bedel Saget Jr., Nefertiti Samba, Kimberly Marie Sammon, Brittany Rose Sammut, Adam Matthew Sandler, Jenee' Rose Sands, Kira D. Sansone, Elizabeth Santos, Keycy Kelly Saravia Rivas, Mominah Sardar, Jacqueline Chu Sauer, Greta A. Schorr, Jordan Schultz, Maritza Serrano Mendez, Ranya Sergany, Rebecca Shaiman, Samantha Shaiman, Ahmad Shamulzai, Shivam Sharma, Scott Shelton, Kevin Shepherd, Evan Sherman, Jonathan Rafael Simeone, Carolyn Simone, Heathpaul Singh, Kevin Jot Singh, Philip Skop Bruno, Natalie Smith, Melissa Ann Somoza, Melisa Sorto, John C. Spessard, Emily Ann Stasi, Emily Rose Stasko, Christopher Stebbins, Ryan Christopher Stengl, Symone Stewart, Marianne Stockwell, Amanda Marie Strigaro, Jeff Sully, Nahmida Talukder, Naveed Tariq, Nicole Terenzi, Aisha Thakir, Annalise Paige Thode, Zachary Thompson, Kevin Ticas, Abdul W. Tokhie, Melane Torres Paz, Thomas Toscano, Panayiotis Elias Toubanos, Jared S. Trainor, Morgan Kristen Trefny, Henrry Treminio, Stephanny Trujillo, Jimmy Turcios Marquina, Tyler Richard Ullman, Rachel C. Ulrich, Rachel Vega, Brian Ventura, Amanda Verdi, James J . Vigneau, Melanie Villota, Beatrice Viri, James L. Wadulack, Shabanu Wahab, Ashanti Walker, Damaris Warren, Alex G. Wasserman, Stephanie Drew Weinstock, Kayla Brooke Weiss, Robert Daniel Wellington, Juwan A. Wells, Justin White, Jason J. Wildman, Cassandra Wilkie, Jeremy Goff Williams, Terri Williams, Cassandra L. Wilson, Daniel Lee Wilson, Ryan Wolff, Kiandre J. Wright, Courtney Paige Yodice, Thomas Younghans, John Zad Zadran, Derek Steven Zadrozny, Siraat K. Zafar, Daniel Zagorski, Nicholas J. Zaharios, Patrick Frank Zakrzewski, Michelle Zapata, Alexander Zappulla, and Gabriel John Lee Zimmerman.