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Kennedy Graduates Class of 2022

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The Kennedy High School graduating class of 2022 was celebrated on the football field on June 12.

Bursts of green fill the field as staff, friends and families enjoyed the commencement ceremony under a canopy of cloudy blue skies.

Gerard Owenburg began was appointed as principal when the Class of 2022 were freshmen.

“What I wanted most was for you, was for you to have great memories of your high school experience, and I just wanted you to be happy,” he said. “Little did any of us know the obstacles we would face during your remaining three years of high school,” he added, referring to the Covid disruption in education. “The Kennedy Class of 2022 quickly started to be recognized for a different trait; their adaptability. During the most difficult months of your high school years, your kindness and generosity remained a beacon of hope for this entire community.”

Valedictorian Christopher Prainito and salutatorian Michelle Brown addressed the crowd.

Prainito noted to his peers that they should be ready to pivot throughout life when it comes to careers and passions.

“We are the ones who choose our paths,” he said. “While it is important to have dreams and goals, it is just as important to be flexible.”

Brown spoke about COVID-related challenges.

“We were really taken out of our comfort zones and as a result we have come out of high school stronger and more united than ever.”


Date Added: 6/16/2022

Calhoun Graduates Class of 2022

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The Calhoun High School graduating Class of 2022 was celebrated on the football field on June 12.

Bursts of Calhoun blue filled the field as staff, friends and families enjoyed the commencement ceremony under a canopy of cloudy blue skies.

Principal Nicole Hollings explained how “there are significant problems in our world that [graduates] are going to be called upon to fix.”

“You are the future,” she said. “You hold it in your hands. You have the power to put aside hate and intolerance and to instead love, accept and welcome in. When you ask, ‘how can I help’ you are sharing that you might not have all the answers and instead you can work with others around you to solve problems.”

Valedictorian Tina Cheng and salutatorian Kaitlin Bondi addressed the crowd.

Cheng reflected on goals and striving for perfection.

“I hope that each of us can vow to ourselves that in the next few years, we will focus on our own happiness and accept that it is okay if we don't live up to people’s expectations,” she added.

Bondi talked about the “beauty of unpredictability.”

“We do not possess the ability to know the future - yet – so acknowledging and appreciating life’s unpredictability is our next best option,” she said. “In this sense, do not dwell too heavily on what could have been or what will be. Relinquish the false sense of control we all think we have over our lives.”


Date Added: 6/15/2022

Mepham Graduates Class of 2022

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The Mepham High School graduating Class of 2022 was celebrated on the football field on June 12.

Bursts of maroon dotted the field as staff, friends and families enjoyed the commencement ceremony under a canopy of blue skies.

Principal Eric Gomez welcomed guests, noting this was his last graduating class. Gomez was appointed to assistant superintendent of personnel beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

“You, the class of 2022, recognized early on that the only way to succeed is to just keep persevering with the tasks at hand, leading to progress and achieving what you have set to build without abandoning it halfway through,” he said.

He encouraged graduates to maintain a positive attitude and outlook.

“This will keep you content and your mind at peace,” he added.

Poet Laureate Anika Strite read her original piece, “It’s Time.”

Valedictorian Helena Fu of Mepham and salutatorian Justin Dioguardi addressed the crowd.

Fu told classmates not to think of graduation as conclusion, but rather a continuation.

“Rather than being a timeline that we can easily follow, life takes many different turns,” she said. “Yet our foundations are composed of teachers, administrators, coaches and role models who have taught us how to think for ourselves. You have helped us to foster the growth of the foundation that allows us to branch out into the future.”

Dioguardi spoke about the late Kobe Bryant’s pillars of success, fearlessness, obsessiveness, relentlessness and passion.

“These traits perfectly describe the class of 2022,” he said. “We’ve all been faced with adversity during out high school years, but our relentlessness kept us going. Our determination is a major reason why the class of 2022 is one of the most impressive classes to ever walk the halls at Mepham.”

Date Added: 6/14/2022

Grand Avenue Holds Moving Up Ceremonies

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Sunny skies served as the canopy as Grand Avenue Middle School Class of 2022 celebrated their moving up on June 10 with three ceremonies.

Principal Carlo Conte recalled a poem, The Man in the Glass, which was an assignment in high school. He recited the poem as encouragement for the graduating class.

“Things that were once scary or tough and standards that seemed unattainable became within my grasp as the year went on,” he noted. “When you are faced with what seems daunting and insurmountable, dig deep. The biggest regret you can every carry is not fight for the one thing that means the most and that is the man in the glass.”

Victoria Konyk, a senior at Mepham High School, inspired graduates as well.

“The four years will fly by, so enjoy them,” she said. “Our high schools have tight knit communities, strong school spirit and supportive staff and I am confident that each of you will find your place next year.

Date Added: 6/13/2022

Merrick Avenue Marks Moving Up Ceremonies

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In an outdoor ceremony marked with pomp, circumstance, balloon arches and other fanfare, the Merrick Avenue Middle School Class of 2022 celebrated moving up on June 10 with two ceremonies. 

Principal Katelyn Dunn spoke how “the more difficult days” of the pandemic learning “have given us a greater appreciation of the good ones.” 

“Being home in the spring of your sixth-grade year gave you a greater appreciation of being present at school these last two years,” she continued. “You are the motivation that keeps us going. You continuously help us to see the good and remind us of our purpose as educators.” 

Alexa Addonizio, a student speaker from team 5, said that these last two years have helped her and classmates learn to work together and overcome the challenges they have faced. 

“The MAMS community and environment quickly made us feel at home,” she added. “And that’s what our school is — our home.” 

Guest speaker, Isabella Mandel, a Kennedy High School senior and older sibling of a MAMS Class of 2022 graduate, offered insight into the next chapter. 

“Get involved because every single aspect you loved about MAMS is expanded in high school,” she said. “Take advantage of it. If you want to join a club – do it. If you want to create a club – do it. Go on the field trips, to the sports games and school dances. Embrace all of your school traditions. Do it all and go all out.” 

Date Added: 6/10/2022

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