Glen Cove High School’s J.C. Maiden Field hosted perhaps the most emotional and exciting ceremony of the school year on June 26. As members of the class of 2019 marched from the school to their seats, family members stood up, clapping and cheering. The graduates were ending one chapter of their lives and starting another, and the feeling of pride among the crowd was almost palpable.
The high school band, playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” set the tone as the graduates arrived. Senior class Co-presidents Aamaiyah Vaughan and Lucy Costello led the Pledge of Allegiance; the high school’s Concert Choir, led by director Ed Norris, sang the national anthem and the school’s alma mater, which was conducted by graduate Julianna Willson.
Principal Antonio Santana spoke about his personal connection with the graduating class. He became principal four years ago, when the class of 2019 was starting high school. He had watched the students grow, and said he was proud of their success.
Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna reminded the seniors that their families would be their greatest supporters, and that they should never forget how special they are. Board of Education President Gail Nedbor-Gross compared the graduates’ journey to building a house, saying that they had completed the foundation and would continue working upward as their lives moved on.
Salutatorian Mackenzie Edwards read an excerpt from the poem “Desiderata,” by Max Ehrmann, about the importance of staying true to oneself and persevering through difficult times. “I wish that you find whatever it is that you are searching for,” Edwards concluded. “Stay true to yourself, and always strive to be happy.”
Security guard Michael Curran was this year’s faculty speaker, and he told the graduates that it had been a pleasure to watch them grow over the past four years. His passionate yet funny speech moved the student body to give him a standing ovation.
Finally, Valedictorian Matthew Tran told his classmates that, while leaving high school can be a sad time, they had more reason to be excited. “For me, I’m just happy, because I know that today marks the beginning of a new chapter,” Tran said. “I’m happy that we are taking the next step in our lives, and on our way to becoming the young adults we already think we are. Even though we are leaving high school, Glen Cove High School will always hold a special place in all of our hearts.”
As the students, one by one, were presented with their diplomas, cheers and applause erupted time and time again. They smiled, shook hands with members of the administration and made their way back to their seats, now officially high school graduates. They moved their tassels, tossed their mortarboards skyward and celebrated with one another, ready to take on the challenges that await them in their lives after high school.