Class of 2017 Celebrates Final Chapter

Class of 2017 Celebrates Final Chapter Photo

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School celebrated the 58th annual commencement exercises on June 22 as the Class of 2017 was honored at their graduation ceremony.

As administrators, Board of Education members, faculty and invited family and friends watched, the Class of 2017 marched on to the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the concert band and directed by Eric Dobmeier.

Board of Education President Brian Sales addressed the graduates and urged them to have the right attitude and make the right choices moving forward. “Be good listeners; truly listen and don’t just hear,” he said. “Embrace different points of view. Always be a lifelong learner. Even with all knowledge you may amass over time, there is no substitute for good common sense.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon wished the students all the best in their future endeavors. “Each of you have made a positive imprint at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School,” she said. “This is far from being the end – it’s the beginning of all of your tomorrows. I have taken great pride in watching each of you grow into the fine young people you are today.”

Class of 2017 salutatorian Mikayla Angel spoke to her classmates about expectations. Not only did she deliver her speech in English, she also recited it in Spanish as well. “This is the time to make your own expectations,” she said. “You now decide whether you will challenge yourself or remain the same; that’s up to you. You control your expectations. You control how you deal with the doubt of others. I implore you to have hope and remember to stand up for yourself. My legendary kings and queens of ’17, you are unstoppable.”

Valedictorian Tomasz Solecki addressed the Class of 2017 and challenged them to be the change they want to see in this world. “If all people work together in harmony, we as a society can accomplish unimaginable feats,” he said. “It’s you, the people who have the ability to change things for the better. You the people have the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to create a better world for everyone, not just for yourselves. You have the power to make this life free and adventurous. Let not class, religion, race, ethnicity nor gender divide us. If we all live by that motto and offer helping hands to the community with even little acts of kindness, we can truly make this world a better place for all.”

Principal Joseph Agosta spoke to the students about their journey to graduation and the path that lies ahead. “In the future, I have great confidence in your abilities,” he said. “It’s an honor for me to know that I have been a part of your final year as high school students. As you move on in life, remember the values, pride and sense of community that each member of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School staff has worked so hard to provide. I have had the distinct privilege of seeing many of you enter your first year of kindergarten and now I have the honor of granting you your high school diploma.”

Senior class president Lyndsey Wilson presented the Class of 2017 gift – a donation to the incoming freshman class – to Assistant Principal Bradley Reminick. Mr. Reminick and Assistant Principal Jonathan Cutolo then called the names of each member of the Class of 2017, where Dr. Bannon and Mr. Agosta presented them with their diplomas.

Prior to turning their tassels and tossing their caps high in the air, the Class of 2017 received a final message from Sen. Chuck Schumer. He encouraged the students to live their lives to the fullest, and always follow their dreams. Following the cap toss and the cheering of the crowds, the Class of 2017 marched off the field to “Chorale and March.”