School pride and appreciation for family, friends, and faculty were evident as 378 seniors from Connetquot Central School District’s Class of 2022 proudly processed onto the football field and into the bleachers on June 23 for the district’s annual commencement exercises while the high school band, under the direction of Gregory Johnson and Stacy Stollberger, played “Pomp and Circumstance.”
As the students settled into their seats, the Bohemia Fire Department color guard presented colors, followed by Natalie Jo Pederson’s leading in the Pledge of Allegiance. Under the baton of Brad Drinkwater, James Nagle and Nicole White, the Connetquot High School senior chorus sang the national anthem and “Brave Connetquot,” the school’s alma mater.
In his welcoming remarks, principal Michael Moran thanked parents and faculty for their support of the graduates during their high school tenure. He also said, “I truly appreciate all they [the graduates] represent over the past four years.”
Board of education trustee Marissol Mallon told the graduates to “find your purpose and follow it with passion” and that “goals are important and keep you motivated.”
Moran then formally recognized the Class of 2022’s top 25 students, which led to the valedictory and salutatory addresses. Salutatorian Evan Mistler, through his love of animation of stories like “Kung Fu Panda,” said he came to “understand that it is ok to be who you want to be.” He added, “You all need to believe in yourselves, and you can do virtually anything.”
Valedictorian Stephanie Chen relayed her parents’ immigration story from China, stating that through a 12-hour-per-day, seven-days-a-week workweek, her parents “never gave up hope that their children would receive an education.” By watching her parents work in their successful takeout restaurant, she has learned that “both the good and bad times will pass” and to “never give up hope.”
Class president Brendan Falabella told his peers that “no matter where we go… the people who shaped us will always be a phonecall away.” Likewise, student government president Zachary Palazzotto called out to peers who “left their imprint on me” and who taught him lessons about resilience, kindness, academic excellence, camaraderie, and what a hopeful future looks like.
Moran then called upon superintendent of schools Dr. Lynda Adams for the certification of graduates, prior to the presentation of diplomas by board of education trustees and 12th-grade advisers Adam Lieberman and Michael Wolf.
The Connetquot Central School District congratulates each of the graduates on this milestone and extends best wishes for success.
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