Herricks High School Class of 2022 says goodbye

Herricks High School Class of 2022 says goodbye
Herricks High School held their commencement ceremony on Friday, June 24. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

The Herricks High School Class of 2022 and Superintendent Fino Celano both said goodbye to the district Friday, June 24 during the school’s 63rd annual commencement at the football field. 

The evening began with an opening ceremony by principal Joan Keegan and greetings in various world languages from the students themselves. 

Board of Education President Henry Zanetti and Trustee James Gounaris, father of a graduating student, provided remarks alongside PTSA president Medline Svitak before Celano gave his final address to the community after seven years of leading the district. 

“You have so much to be proud of on this special day set aside for you to celebrate the beginning of the next phase of your life,” Celano said. The superintendent lauded the class of 2022’s accomplishments in the classroom, on the field and in the community. 

“Over the years, you have learned to think critically, form opinions and stand up for what you believe in,” Celano continued. 

Celano said he was honored to join the students as an honorary member of the graduating class, who are attending over 100 different colleges and universities because he’s “graduating too” before congratulating and wishing them continued success. 

Salutatorian Chloe Chang talked about the meaning of success and the different meanings and shapes it may take. Chang said when the class of 2022 entered Herricks 1,389 days ago, everyone had their own sense of the word shaped by prior experiences.

Chang continued by saying success may not look like what we perceive it to be, but that doesn’t take anyone’s success away from them

“I believe when we restrict ourselves to adhere to these binding definitions of others, we lose the true meaning of success at its very core,” Chang said. “I do not know who we let decide the definition of success but here we are redefining it for us today. Success does not look or act in any one way, it is not defined by the fabric or items we own, and neither is it defined by numbers.”

“We can forever alter the lives of those around us for the better,” Chang continued. “However, as we go on to achieve the great things, I urge you to look around for a moment. Look how far we’ve come.”

Valedictorian Keneil Soni expressed pride in Herricks while encouraging his classmates to continue their hard work and maintain both who they are and what they believe in. Soni shared stories on the lessons of integrity, persistence and the value of time that he learned from both shortcomings and triumphs while attending Herricks. 

“We have all grown so much since we began our careers here at Herricks High School, and will only continue to grow as we part ways,” Soni said. “Time will change our future, but it won’t change the friendships that we built and the memories that we shared here together.

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