At the June 30 commencement ceremony held at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, the message for Kennedy High School’s Class of 2019 was one of kindness and compassion.
Principal Gerard Owenburg also discussed the importance of gratitude.
“Make every moment count,” he continued. “Life is about happiness and living in the moment. Those who practice gratitude and mindfulness regularly are happier overall in life.”
He also urged graduates to make more human connections and to continue to “develop communication skills” in a world where digital communication reigns supreme.
Student Government President Jonathan Mashal called his classmates a “beacon of light and hope for the future.”
“We are the problem solvers of tomorrow, paving the road for future generations,” he added.
Salutatorian Whitney Sussman told her fellow classmates not to let other people’s measure of success define theirs.
“What makes a person successful is their ability to make a positive impact on others,” she added.
Valedictorian Jordan Pitti thanked teachers for the “culmination of positive interactions and life lessons both inside and out of the classroom.”
“They have helped us to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do,” he added.
Lastly, Board trustee Dr. Nancy Kaplan, spoke of transition; both at Kennedy this year with the passing of former Principal Lorraine Poppe and Owenburg’s first year as principal, as well as transition for the graduates who are moving on.
“I hope you feel a sense of pride in your school and all you have already accomplished,” she added, attributing the legacy of education excellence to Poppe’s tenure. “You have so many more moments left [referencing Principal Owenburg’s speech] ‘make every moment count.’”