Hicksville High School’s Class of 2016 graduated with their proud families, friends, administrators, members of the board of education and teachers applauding their hard work and celebrating their significant milestone. The beautiful ceremony, held on the back field of the school, featured several motivational speeches delivered to the graduating class as they prepared to close one chapter of their lives and begin another.
Following a rendition of the national anthem by senior chorus members, Principal Raymond Williams spoke about the importance of constant learning.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carl Bonuso said that graduation is a celebration of how students’ intellects, minds and hearts have grown.
Class of 2016 Salutatorian Rujuta Desai said it is possible to fight mediocrity with the right mindset.
Board of Education President Phil Heckler, in his speech, quoted author C.S. Lewis in saying “Isn’t it funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?”
Nassau County Legislator Rose Walker urged the graduates to always give a piece of themselves to others, since so many have done the same for them.
Class of 2016 Valedictorian Matthew Cimino—who was introduced by his German teacher Helena Lipska—spoke about the importance of family, friends and the pursuit of happiness.
The ceremony also served to recognize Hicksville High School Class of 1961 alumnus Robert Casale’s induction into the school’s Hall of Fame by the Class of 2016, in addition to three students who earned perfect attendance throughout all four years of high school: Ariella Ricca, Angad Saini and Winnie Shen.
Students’ names were then announced one by one, and applause and ovations were plentiful. Following the announcement of the complete list of names, the graduates turned their tassels from right to left and proceeded to toss their caps high into the air.
Principal Raymond Williams’ Speech
Dear Class of 2016,
A wise man once said:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven” —Ecclesiastes 3:1”
I bring greetings from the Hicksville School District and in particular Hicksville High School administration, faculty and staff.
From where I stand, I have the greatest view of the future. This view is of you, Class of 2016. My view shows promise, potential and hope.
Prior to writing this speech, I reasoned with a neighbor about whether there is a formula for cultivating well-rounded, grounded and successful children. We spoke about children being blank discs or in the new digital age, a new phone with no information yet downloaded.
When you take a computer out of the box, it doesn’t do anything. The computer can have the fastest processor, the highest of RAM. It takes a lot of work to make the computer work. If there aren’t certain thing you don’t do, it’s simply a piece of junk. First you need an operating system; then you need to give the computer instructions—it’s called a program or application—then when you activate an application or program, you then must ensure you have files or organized memory.
Human beings operate the same way; we all need an active memory in order to function, just like the computer. Memory serves as a snapshot into whether one is healthy or not. Groups cannot function with memory. That is why your history is so important; the things you stand for, where you are from, what makes you YOU. If you are like the computer or cell phone that had just been taken out of the box, you will be lost, no files or applications, therefore no direction and basis for where you are headed. It is sometimes said, in order to know where you are going you must first know where you are coming from. Again, what makes you YOU? Why are you special and unique? Where are you going? And what do I stand for?
This is why it is important for you young people to honor our elders—those who know and have lived our history—where we come from, why we do things the way we do. Your elders can be your grandparents, teachers, principal, mother, father and so on. They embody wisdom; they seek to guide you to do good, grow, have positive works and in the end, do well in life. They teach you through their actions and storytelling. Elders hold in trust those kinds of things we need. Elders carry our file/programs that remind us why it is important to continually pursue knowledge and thus edifying ourselves educationally. Education is freedom. Education is emancipation. Education is power. Education is change harnessed until it is released when you commit to working hard in educating yourselves. Education is the filling of the hard drive, the downloading of applications and the filing of the ever-so-important learnings.
Although our family history may be all different, we all share a common identity; that Hicksville is a special place with boundless potential when YOU, students, are committed to working hard, being kind, respectful and compassionate, you help to create a common history and identity that will define Hicksville and what it is we stand for.
Remember to recharge your computer—your mind, body and spirit. Be a perpetual, relentless learner. Just as your computers and phones need updating, YOU must be in the constant pursuit of updating your knowledge base. A constant learner is competitive in college, careers, the armed forces or whatever you pursuits.
What I’m saying is this: those who have a strong sense of self, drive and therefore identity will be successful. While there are many variables and predictors for success, a sense of self and a sense of place is essential. Having a sense of self is knowledge. Knowledge you have received right here at HHS, and you will continue to build upon this knowledge base as you all march forward to pursue your dreams. Before me are future doctors, mechanics, electricians, physical therapists, engineers, musicians, actors and more.
I know we might have been TOUGH on you, but it is only because we care deeply about you and your future. Always remember that the people that tell you what you want to hear are not always the people that care most about you. Good people are the ones who tell you what you most NEED to hear. That of which is best for you!
Now listen carefully:
1. Don’t miss the boat.
2. We’re all in the same boat.
3. Tomorrow is today—In other words, all we do is contiguous; yesterday is a part of today and today is a part of tomorrow so let your actions every day be a part of the story that fulfills your future goals and aspirations.
4. You cannot build a strong house without a strong foundation.
5. Stay focused; don’t pay attention to the critics and naysayers.
6. For the most part, everyone knows the story about Noah’s Ark. Graduates, recognize that amateurs built Noah’s Ark and professionals built the Titanic.
With knowledge of who you are, what you stand for, a strong academic foundation, wisdom and humility you will succeed.
I encourage you to dream big and open the doors of opportunity. We need your willingness to step outside the box and face this challenging road ahead with responsible defiance.
Graduates, you must always continue to dig deeper and discover gifts you never knew you even had.
My dearest students, class of 2016, I implore you all to make good choices, seize the opportunity, honor yourself and be good to all others. Honor your family, parents, and elders.
On behalf of the administration, faculty and staff of Hicksville High School, my heartfelt congratulations.
To the Class of 2016:
Onward and Upwards!!