Class of 2017

Kings Park High School students celebrated during their graduation ceremony Thursday, June 22. Family members, friends and community members lined the new turf field to cheer on the graduates.

It was an afternoon of pride and sentiment as 427 graduates from Smithtown High School West’s Class of 2017 celebrated an important academic milestone during the 102nd annual commencement exercises on the football field June 22.

After a salute to the flag, the jazz choir sang the national anthem, followed by Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Grossane’s welcome to the students and their guests. In giving advice to the graduates, Dr. Grossane called on the lessons learned in the readings of “Winnie the Pooh” stories as they related to individuality, unselfishness, comfort, wealth and trust. “Trust in your abilities to deal with anything,” he said.  

Honor speaker Cory Zhou, who was elected by his peers in lieu of a valedictorian and salutatorian, encouraged classmates to find passion in their lives and to use their natural talents. “Do not subjugate your gifts out of fear,” he said. “Instead, flaunt them and be proud of them.” Class president Courtney Grafstein spoke about the importance of reaching out to others. “Everything we do, no matter how small, can make a difference in the lives of others,” she noted.

Prior to the presentation of the class, Principal John Coady thanked the students for their assistance in making Smithtown High School West a school of excellence. “You have left a mark on this school,” he said. “I thank you for what you have done and what you will do.”

After each graduate was called to the stage to receive his or her diploma from administration and faculty, concert choir seniors and the jazz choir paid tribute to the parents and graduates with a performance of “The Sweetest Days.”

Smithtown Central School District celebrated the accomplishments of Smithtown High School East’s Class of 2017 during its 102nd annual commencement exercise June 22.

The 427 graduates marched proudly onto the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance” and were welcomed by Smithtown School District Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Bradshaw, who spoke to the Class of 2017 about smart goals and dream-driven goals. “You don’t have to pick one or the other for your goals,” she said. “Today, your graduation day, is a noteworthy accomplishment. But it is only one day that represents the culmination of 13 years of studying. You should be proud of the work that got you here. But as you embark on the next stage of life, consider not just your next goal, consider your next journey and how you want to spend that journey.”

Smithtown High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons urged the graduates to dream big. “This is an unbelievably exciting time in your life,” he said. “All doors are open as you decide what your next chapter in life will be. Keep making informed choices and educated decisions. Continue to test yourself and stay committed to your beliefs because you know what’s best for you. We are so proud of your current accomplishments and we look forward to hearing all of your future successes as well.”

Student honor speaker Kyle DiPietrantonio, who is selected by the class instead of a valedictorian or salutatorian, took a moment to reflect on how far the class has come in the past four years at Smithtown High School East. “These past four years, we have been working to create our own identity,” he said. “You have the power to make a difference. You have the ability to impact and influence. Leave your legacy.”

Senior class president Juneve Porciello addressed her fellow classmates and spoke about how graduation wasn’t the end but a new beginning. “Today, we are not saying goodbye, we are saying hello to our future,” she said. “The days in front of us are what hold the greatest adventure. It’s time to take the next step in our journey.”

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