Copiague’s Class of 2018 marches on

 Copiague’s Class of 2018 marches on photo

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School celebrated the 59th annual commencement exercises as the graduating Class of 2018 was recognized on June 21 at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

Greeted by school administrators, board of education members, family and friends, the 370 members of the Class of 2018 marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the concert band and directed by Eric Dobmeier. 

Board of Education President Laura Gavey offered congratulatory remarks to the class. “We know that you have worked hard during your educational years and have taken advantage of the many opportunities presented to you to get to this very special night,” she said. “The board has had the pleasure of seeing you excel on the field, the stage and in the classroom during the last four years. The Class of 2018 has definitely made memories both inside and outside of Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. Tonight is the beginning of the rest of your lives. Please grasp it firmly and head down a path leading to eternal success, which is measured by your happiness.”

Sen. John Brooks also spoke to the soon-to-be graduates and offered words of advice. “Take a minute and look around at your fellow graduates. Fifty years from now, you may not recognize one another but you will remember one another. You will remember what you shared in this school. Treasure the last four years; the friends you made, the things you did, what you learned.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon imparted words of wisdom by sharing the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw with the students. “When I think about this class, I marvel how you have exceled in the classrooms, on the athletic fields, on the stage and everywhere in between,” she said. “You have certainly left an indelible mark on Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. You are to be commended for all of the positive energy, effort and dedication you put into everything you did while you were in high school. I wish you all the best in whatever your future holds for you.”

Salutatorian Samantha Sanchez urged her classmates to embrace their fears and follow their dreams. “I know many of us are scared of what’s to come and are not certain of what our next stage of life will look like,” she said. “No matter what plans you make for the future, we can’t predict the paths we will go down. Each of us has a purpose in this world; each one of us is a puzzle piece of what we call humanity and the goal is to find where we fit as individuals. We will go through highs and lows and those points in our lives will mold us and shape us into who we will become.” 

Valedictorian Alexandra Saczawa talked about setting goals and working hard. “Some of you might still not be sure of what you want to happen in the future and all of these things are ok because it’s the journey that you will remember and not the destination,” she said. “However, during the journey, it is important that you have some sort of purpose. Without a purpose in life, people become lifeless and feel as if their life has no meaning. My parting advice to my class is to always set goals for yourself. Even if they are constantly changing, always have something to work toward and always try to improve yourself to ensure that you are growing as a person. Also, stay confident in yourself and know that you are capable of being great because everyone sitting in front of me can do amazing things if they set their minds to it.”

Principal Joseph Agosta encouraged the graduates to make their mark on the world. “When you look back and reflect, you will recognize that there was so much support these past 13 years,” he said. “You were supported by loving families, caring and dedicated teachers and administrators, a board of education focused on providing you with the skills needed to help you reach your potential, stand on your own and take your place as productive world citizens. Looking forward, much is expected of you and I have great confidence in your abilities. As you move on in life, remember the values, pride and sense of community each member of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School staff has worked so hard to provide.”

Class of 2018 Senior Class President Shannon Corr presented the class gift — a donation to the incoming freshman class and funds to help beautify the senior courtyard — to Assistant Principal Jonathan Cutolo. Mr. Cutolo and Assistant Principal Jonathan Krawchuk then called the names of each member of the Class of 2018, where Dr. Bannon and Mr. Agosta presented them with their diplomas.

Mr. Agosta instructed the students to then turn their tassels and officially pronounced them Class of 2018 graduates. After tossing their caps high in the air, the students marched out to “Chorale and March.”