Port Washington celebrates Schreiber’s Class of 2022

Port Washington celebrates Schreiber’s Class of 2022
On Thursday afternoon, loved ones celebrated their Paul D. Scheiber graduates. (Photo by Steven Keehner)

The Port Washington community celebrated the latest batch of Vikings to set sail for new adventures during the Paul D. Schreiber High School commencement ceremony.

The weather, teetering between intense heat and threatening rain, couldn’t dampen the forecasted joyous mood on Thursday afternoon. Students and parents covered Seeber Field in a sea of Schreiber blue as loved ones cheered on the 420 grads.

The school’s musicians gave performances, and many officials spoke at length. But student speaker Hannah Brooks’ commencement speech was the day’s high point.

“We’ve been trained to sort the passing the time into chapters, episodes and acts. We can spot an ‘ending’ from a mile away. Our progress bars tell us there are only five minutes left and the main characters are putting on their caps and gowns,” she said. “So we know, more likely than not, the credits are supposed to roll soon.”

The passing of time and celebrating it were the key themes of Brooks’ speech. She said that life is more like a scrapbook than a movie or television program.

“We’re ever-growing with infinite blank pages ready to be added in and filled with possibility,” she said. “We’re connected to our past and because of it, we’re excited and open to the change that’s yet to come.”

Brooks concluded by saying that the lessons they learned, the connections they built and the brief but significant moments they shared were greater than the big endings seen in media.

“Today, we’ll put our diplomas somewhere special. Tomorrow we’ll take pictures and press our corsages and boutonnieres,” she said. “And the day after that, instead of rolling credits, we’ll grab a fresh piece of paper and some glue and eagerly ask the world: what’s next?”

With a 5.26 weighted GPA, Brooks will attend Dartmouth College in the fall.

The Board of Education recognized Diana Benedicto Jimenez, another student, as the Bogart Scholarship winner. They give the scholarship to a student(s) who shows academic and leadership excellence.

School Board President Julie Epstein shared how Benedicto Jimenez has funded 30 full scholarships for students in disadvantaged nations.

“[Benedicto Jimenez] exemplified the very definition of the characteristics of a Bogart Scholarship recipient through their academic achievement, leadership and service,” she said. “Their passion to provide service to their country and our world started with a ripple and will extend far beyond their high school years and will continue to make waves into the future.”

In assistant principal Kristen Anisis’s speech, she used Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, “Animals,” as the catalyst.

She explained how she fell in love with the album right after she graduated and has continued to return to it. She urged students that no matter what happens, they’ll always have those mementos of home.

“At some point, this might all feel like an artifact and that’s okay. Now play your album, be reminded that your time at Schreiber has helped mold you into who you are today and be proud of who you are,” said Anisis. “I am proud of every one of you today. Now go find your Pink Floyd’s “Animals” this summer. Play it a lot and play it loud.”

Many of the speakers echoed exploration. The Superintendent of Schools, Michael Hynes, approached this topic unconventionally.

“My hope is that you fail. And I want you to fail often. I want you to learn from such failures. Because the ‘F word’ has such a negative connotation and it shouldn’t at all,” he said. “I found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks and make yourself uncomfortable so you can grow.”

Every graduate, according to Hynes, can achieve. But he said one must take risks.

“The Port Washington School District has prepared you for your next step. So now what will you do?” he said. “Congratulations, we love you. Take risks, fail often, fulfill your potential and Godspeed.”

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