Class of 2019 Starts New Chapter

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Clear skies and a beaming sun welcomed a joyous crowd of family, friends and distinguished guests to the high school’s 92nd commencement ceremony on June 26, to celebrate the Class of 2019 and the momentous milestone they have achieved.

The event began with the seniors filing onto the football field, adorned in red caps and gowns, before Isabella Pasha and Maggie Ruland recited the Pledge of Allegiance and Victoria Tiernan performed the national anthem. In traditional fashion, four students – Alexandra Bertolini, Emily DaSilva, Karina Gallagher and Katelyn Spina – then sang the school’s alma mater.

Principal Mark Bernard greeted the Class of 2019 before offering a heartfelt challenge. “I challenge you to be the best that you can be, to dream big, to work hard and to never accept failure,” Bernard said. “I challenge you to find a cure for cancer, to work toward world peace and to leave this Earth better than it was when you came to be.”

James Smalley, the salutatorian, then reflected on his journey as a student at East Islip High School and how the experiences they shared as classmates shaped them into kind, compassionate individuals.

Bernard then honored a group of alumni from the Class of 1969 who were in attendance, and Kristen Bayreuther recognized the top 25 students in the senior class.

Valedictorian Victoria Keenan’s words empowered her fellow graduates as they move on from this chapter in their lives. “Promise me that you will believe in yourself, even when others do not,” she said. “People are beautiful and wonderful, but they also have the power to be cruel. They can say things and do things that will make you feel powerless, that you are not good enough; but let me tell you this – you are enough. If there is one thing you will take away from high school, let it be that.”

Superintendent John Dolan wished the graduates well as he addressed them with powerful words of encouragement. “Now it is your time to go out into the world, to continue to make good, healthy choices and continue to help the ongoing evolution of our beautiful world,” he said. “Choose a career path where you are excited to go to work every day, where you are excited to work hard, to make those around you and the world a better place.”

Following the presentation of diplomas, Class President Madison Lane delivered a nostalgic farewell address that took the new graduates on a final look back through their time as East Islip students.

Just as the sun began to fade from view, the graduates exited the field with hopeful enthusiasm as they began the next chapter of their lives as alumni of East Islip High School.