Dressed in purple and white caps and gowns, the 97 students who make up the 2017 Earl L. Vandermeulen High School graduating class were presented with diplomas at the annual commencement ceremonies June 23.
In a unique presentation, valedictorian Chiara Rabeno and salutatorian Xinyi Hong shared the stage together and spoke in unison about the gifts and choices each of their peers possess. Their address touched on the honesty of Xinyi and the sentimentality of Chiara, winding up with the ultimate message of needing balance in order to achieve their full potential.
During the commencement, speakers offered congratulations and words of wisdom. Among those addressing the students were Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Principal Christine Austen and Superintendent of Schools Paul Casciano, in his first commencement address as the district’s leader.
The ceremony featured several musical performances by the school’s orchestra led by Michael Caravello; the presentation of the American flag by the Port Jefferson Fire Department; the presentation of the traditional class gift — a new water fountain installed for all students to enjoy; as well as motivational speeches peppered with anecdotes and advice by Student Organization President Rebecca Stafford and Elisa Scott, mother of graduate Charlie Scott, who gave the parent address.