The Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Class of 2019 celebrated the 60th commencement exercises on June 26 at the arena at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus.
Led by administrators and members of the faculty, the students marched into the ceremony to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the concert band and director by Eric Dobmeier. Board of Education President Laura Gavey offered congratulatory remarks to the soon-to-be graduates. “The Class of 2019 has definitely made lasting memories both inside and outside the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School,” she said. “Graduation is a time to look at what the future has in store for each of you. Tonight is the beginning of the rest of your life, graduates. So set your course and begin your new life today and make a positive impact on the world.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon shared her wishes for the students to continue down the successful path they have forged. “You are to be commended for all the positive energy, effort and dedication you put into everything you accomplished while you were in high school,” she said. “When you left middle school, many of you were unsure what high school would hold for you. But you had hopes and dreams, many of which have come true. Now, as you leave high school, I know all of you have dreams of what your future might hold. My dream for each of you is that you live your happiest life.”
Class of 2019 salutatorian Abigail Romero reflected on the important lessons she has learned in Copiague. “I’ve noticed that there is a tendency for people to underestimate us from Copiague,” she said. “I’d like us all to prove those people wrong. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Class of 2019 is a revolution. We have the enormous potential to make a real change in this world. We have the resources necessary to do so, and if we don’t, we will forge them. Let’s not waste the enormous potential that we have. One of the most beautiful things about this life is the ability to start over and over, each time getting closer to the person who you want to become. As we move forward into the future, together, who are you going to become?”
Echoing Abigail’s sentiments, valedictorian Aaron Eng urged his fellow classmates to seize every opportunity, especially if it pushes them outside their own comfort zone. “Don’t be content with maintaining the status quo,” he said. “Allow yourself to undergo growth and develop yourself into the person you want to be. I am glad to be able to call myself a graduate of the Copiague school district. I’m genuinely grateful for all that Copiague has had to offer over the past 13 years, not just regarding academics. Having such a diverse student population really fosters a mindset in which such diversity is celebrated, and differences are embraced. I know many of us will be departing to areas much more homogeneous, where we may feel out of place. My wish is for you to work beyond this, and to find a way to promote a message of diversity and acceptance wherever you go.”
The graduating Class of 2019 has an extra special place for Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Principal Joseph Agosta, who began his role as principal when the graduates were incoming freshman. “When you look back and reflect you will recognize that for much of these past 13 years, you have been supported by loving families, caring and dedicated teachers and administrators and a board of education focused on providing you with the skills needed to help you reach your true potential, stand on your own and take your place as productive world citizens,” he said. “Looking forward, much is expected from you and I have great confidence in your abilities. As you continue on your journey, I hope you look back at your years in high school with fond memories. I charge you with the task of continuing to put what you have learned to good use and to be a positive force in your community.”
Senior class vice president Kriyal Patel presented the class gift – a donation to the incoming freshman class – to Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Assistant Principal Jonathan Krawchuk. Krawchuk and Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Assistant Principal Tamika Eason announced the names of each graduate. Graduates made their way across the stage and were congratulated by Mr. Agosta and Dr. Bannon. After each name was called, Mr. Agosta instructed the students to turn their tassels and pronounced them graduates of the Class of 2019.