New Hyde Park Memorial High School’s sent off the class of 2022 at their graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex at Hofstra University.
Richard Faccio, the school’s principal, delivered some words of encouragement to the graduating class.
“We know that the future’s going to hold great things for you, especially when you give it your all.” said Faccio. “As we’ve learned over the past few years, there are no guarantees in life, but where your path will lead you, wherever it leads you, always make sure that you try your best and remember to be true to who you are, and your values and beliefs.”
The school’s assistant principal Frank Geritano honored the senior class’s co-presidents, Samantha Chang and Riley Griffin, both of whom delivered the invocation.
“These two young ladies, though different in their own right, are very much the same,” said Geritano. “They both share the same pride and loyalty to New Hyde Park Memorial High School; they both share the same sentiments, thoughts, and feelings for their fellow classmates, and they both are upstanding, outstanding people who will no doubt make an impact in this world.”
Salutatorian Emma Ouyang quoted her mother in her speech, who would always tell her to first “develop a strong sense of your core self. Know your principles and your boundaries.”
“This doesn’t mean you can’t be mindful of your loved ones,” said Ouyang. “Putting yourself first doesn’t have to be at the cost of your relationships. You can have both. You can only have a healthy relationship if you, yourself, are healthy. What this entails is honesty: be honest with yourself.”
Valedictorian Laurence Lai, whose birthday was also on Sunday, highlighted the class’s obstacles throughout the years by comparing them to diving into a pool.
“We splashed into the frigid water at the start of the seventh grade, but quickly got used to the temperature,” said Lai. “Abolishing the blue and white teams in the ninth grade forced us to dive into deeper waters, but we came out triumphant and unified. Of course, the unfortunate waves of COVID-19 hit us in tenth and eleventh grade, but we can be glad that the wave settled down and the pool was relatively back to normal in twelfth grade. Our story doesn’t end here though, as we will be sailing further out as we make our own journeys into the future.”
“We’ve been through so much more than we could’ve imagined in these past 6 years,” said Lai at the end of his speech. “We’ve all grown into different people, and will lead different lives into the future, but we should be proud to have once been a Gladiator. No matter what challenges we face, I know we’ll be able to get through them.”