The Manhasset High School’s Class of 2022 reflected on their journey throughout the school district during Friday evening’s commencement ceremony at the Secondary School.
Class Valedictorian Dylan Wu said the “large steps” entering Shelter Rock as children to the ones entering the Secondary School as seniors became much smaller. The ones taken into the vastly different world today, Wu said, are reminiscent of the ones the class took more than a decade ago.
“Just moments ago we stepped out through these doors behind us, ascending these stairs as we have hundreds of times in the past,” Wu said. “This time, though, it felt different. The steps seem smaller now, the building less expansive and imposing.”
Wu said it was hard to believe that the coronavirus pandemic had a direct impact on more than a third of the class’s high school experience, but lauded their resiliency and encouraged his classmates not to forget how they combatted the hardships.
“Out of this adversity would come an unprecedented opportunity for growth and I would argue we found resilience, community and perspective we would not have been able to see otherwise,” Wu said.
Salutatorian Evan Ginsberg spoke about how quickly he felt the class matured throughout their secondary school experience. Ginsberg, a member of the school’s crew team, said his role of motivating the other rowers to complete the race helped him understand the value of communication and everyone’s individual role in a group or team.
“If one person in the boat is not fulfilling their job, we won’t go straight,” Ginsberg told his fellow graduates. “Whether you took part in theater, a musical group or any other sport or organization in this community, I hope you learned how important you are to your metaphorical boat and to the course you rode with your teammates. It was the voice you developed, the drive you had and the effort you put in that has brought us victories, yes, but to this graduation day.”
Ginsberg encouraged the class not to move on from and forget those communities or groups as their next chapters begin, but to fondly remember them and use their experiences for whatever lies ahead going forward.
Acting Superintendent Gaurav Passi thanked the parents and guardians of the class for entrusting the district with their children’s education and lauded the class’s mental and intellectual fortitude as they leave Manhasset and continue their respective journeys.
“Today we return your child to you,” Passi said. “We return your child wiser, stronger and more resilient than when you first confidently entrusted them to our care several years ago. Our teachers return your child reluctantly, for having spent these years together, they’ve grown close and they’ve become a part of each other. The bond between our teachers and your children will last forever.”
Passi, who will become the district’s permanent superintendent next month, encouraged the class to thank their parents and guardians for aiding them throughout their lives. He reflected on a story about a grandfather educating his grandchild about life and how each individual has the same internal battles, represented by two wolves, within them.
“We are currently living in a time of hyper-polarization and the fearful and angry wolf is well fed,” Passi said. “The responsibility is ours, yours and mine, to resurrect our loving and more kind wolf.”