Valedictorians and salutatorians from Nassau County’s high schools will soon graduate — embarking on new journeys as they walk in the steps of scholars who came before them.
Before all this, however, the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents recognized them for earning the top spots of their class. At a June 1 breakfast, David Flatley, the council’s president, gave words of encouragement to the Class of 2018.
“Question everything,” he said, before quoting President John F. Kennedy, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” In order to strive for excellence, Flatley continued, the best and brightest minds must reject the status quo and never settle for what appears easy.
Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Hashagan, an anchor at News 12, shared a similar sentiment as she addressed the graduating class. She asked them to imagine a world where they are always given what they want and problems are solved effortlessly. If such a world were to exist, she continued, there would be no growth.
Hashagan said that she had to continuously produce content on her own and eventually an employer admired her work and offered her a job. “If you want something, sometimes you have to make it happen yourself,” she said.
Q: What do you like about your favorite subjects, physics and calculus?
“I really like the challenge, I like learning new things.”
Q: What skills did you rely on to get where you are today?
“The number one thing is hard work and dedication. You have to commit yourself.”
Q: What advice do you have for future students?
“Putting in the effort now means you’ll get so much more in the long run.”
Q: Where do you get your motivation?
“I look to my family. I never want to disappoint them. I would feel so [bad] if I didn’t give it my all.”
Q: What passions are you driven by?
“I love photography. Since last April I’ve been freelancing as a photographer [at events]. It’s more significant than when you’re in a studio. It’s memories in the making.”
Q: What was the most challenging part of High School for you?
“I didn’t always want to try new things, but [since I started participating] in the TV studio, I’ve really started to come out of my shell.”
Q: What has driven you to be a high-achiever?
“I had been trying to set myself up for the future because that’s what you’re in school for.”