Class of 2022

John H. Glenn High School celebrated the Class of 2022 on June 24 at the school’s 60th commencement ceremony.

The seniors marched on to the football field, clad in blue and white caps and gowns, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Senior Class President Maya Polese, and the national anthem, performed by the high school’s band under the direction of Vicki Henson.

The ceremony also served as a farewell and salute to retiring Assistant Principal Leroy Cole.

“Mr. Cole, your mark on the Elwood School District will last for decades,” Superintendent Kenneth Bossert said. “We will fill your position but sir, you can never be replaced.”

Bossert and Principal Carisa Burzynski both offered congratulatory remarks, praising the seniors for their achievements. Burzynski noted that the class had the highest ever number of students collectively earning cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude since the school adopted the system.

— Photos from Elwood School District

The Northport High School Class of 2022 celebrated their commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 25, alongside their peers and families at Tiger Stadium.

The sunny ceremony follows their years of hard work and growth and began with senior class representative Lisa Kovacs leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Principal Rob Dennis reflected on how this class has endured many challenges and will undoubtedly shape the questions and answers of our future.

“In your time at Northport High School, I know that you have developed the tools to be thoughtful communicators, empathetic analyzers, deliberate thinkers and open-minded collaborators,” he said as he addressed the new alumni. “We are proud of the people you have become. We are proud of the questions you have had to grapple with. Proud of the resiliency you have shown, and proud of the answers you have given us.”

— Photos from Northport-East Northport School District

It was a hot evening but that didn’t stop Commack High School seniors from celebrating their graduation day with family and friends on June 24.

During the ceremony, student speakers Daniel Figueroa and Robert Acebedo addressed the crowd, and senior class president Allison Spalding presented the Class of 2022 gift. 

Interim Superintendent of Schools David Flatley and high school principal Carrie Lipenholtz also addressed the crowd. 

— Photos  by Rita J. Egan

As the proud seniors of the Harborfields High School Class of 2022 walked out on to the football field on the morning of June 25 for the school’s 63rd commencement ceremony, the warm summer sunshine perfectly matched the warmth in their hearts.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the choir saluted the school with the singing of the Harborfields alma mater.

Superintendent Rory Manning began by recognizing outgoing Principal Timothy Russo for his dedicated 25 years of service.

“Harborfields High School is in a better place because of your leadership,” he said, before presenting Russo with his own honorary diploma.

In an emotional final address to the students he nurtured for four years, Russo lauded them for embracing change and taking risks. “Throughout the years, your enthusiasm, kindness and respect for Harborfields has led us through some really challenging times, and I thank you for simply being the young men and women that you are,” he said.

— Photos from Harborfields Central School District

Submitted by Three Village Central School District

The Ward Melville Class of 2022 came together for a final time on June 26 to celebrate their graduation. Graduates marched through balloon arches onto the front lawn of the school to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” as family and friends cheered them on.

Commencement exercises began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by student government president Riley Meckley, followed by a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by student-musicians. Ward Melville Principal William Bernhard welcomed the crowd, as Board of Education President Deanna Bavlnka gave opening remarks.

Bernhard introduced this year’s keynote speaker, Superintendent of Schools Cheryl Pedisich. This marked Pedisich’s first and last graduation address, as she is retiring. She noted that she feels a special connection with the Class of 2022, as they are entering the next chapter of their lives together. Pedisich touted the graduates’ resiliency and strength as they navigated high school amidst a pandemic.

“We had much to learn from our students, as they did from us, and together we continue to prevail as a district that celebrates unity, respect and collective strength led by the motion, the message invoked and exemplified by the Class of 2022.”

Meckley returned to the podium to reflect on the graduates’ time at Ward Melville High School. She presented the school with a gift — a new, updated Mr. Patriot mascot costume.

Class of 2022 valedictorian Claire Yang and salutatorian Alexander Lin both delivered speeches, saying farewell to their high school careers while looking forward to the future.

“Today, as we end one chapter of our lives and prepare to embark on the next, I hope you will all continue to embody the ideals of resilience and understanding,” Lin said. “With our resolute determination, I’m confident that this class is well-equipped to tackle grander issues in the future.”

“I know how bright and driven our class is,” Yang said. “We are visionaries with big ideas. It goes without saying that the future is in phenomenal hands. But more than that, this is a class of people that can inspire change and goodness in others.”

Following their remarks, the graduates were called on stage by assistant principal Vince Cereola to receive their diplomas from Bernhard, alongside the board of education and district administrators. Class of 2022 President Alexa Moore led the turning of tassels, and students tossed their caps into the air as the Ward Melville High School bell rang, signifying the end of an era.

The Port Jefferson senior prom, a community tradition dating back over half a century, returned on Tuesday, June 28, after two years of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the event itself was held off premises at The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station, a red carpet celebration was successfully conducted at the school, viewed by a sizable turnout of family, friends and community members.

Couples arrived in a wide array of vehicles — fire trucks, sports cars, hot rods, just to name a few. Spectators cheered and honored the students as they arrived and walked up the steps of the high school for what may have been the last time as high school students.

This year, nearly 100 guests attended the prom festivities. This local tradition is alive and well once more.

Proud family members and invited guests gathered at Cold Spring Harbor High School on June 12 to join in celebrating the 59th Commencement of the 145 graduating seniors of the Class of 2022. As the graduates processed into the field house for the final time, High School Principal Daniel Danbusky congratulated the class on their dedication and commitment to achieving their goal of academic success.

“We are all gathered here to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments,” he said.

—Photos from Cold Spring Harbor Central School District

More than 7,600 Stony Brook University students filed into Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium to take part in the 2022 Degree Commencement Celebration ceremony Friday, May 20.

The students were part of one of the largest graduating classes in the university’s 65-year history. They were awarded a combined 7,610 degrees and certificate completions. The Class of 2022 included students from 68 countries and 45 states, and the students ranged from 19 to 71. In addition to the in-person event, it was live streamed.

During the ceremony, film director Todd Haynes received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Over the past four decades, he has taken part in several films and television projects as a film director, screenwriter and producer. He has won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for his work on “Poison,” an American science fiction drama horror film that he also wrote. Haynes is a longtime friend of Christine Vachon, founder of Stony Brook’s MFA in Film, and has collaborated often with her and guest lectured to students in the program.

Haynes had advice for the graduates.

“I just wanted to acknowledge the remarkable teachers in my life, who I feel gave to me the tools to engage with a history and a culture that contained all the contradictions and many of the challenges that we confront today, that you guys confront today,” he said. “They helped me feel inspired to engage with those challenges, not to retreat or even impose my own solutions, but to dig deeper, to raise questions and respond to them in my own way, which is what I have the unique privilege of doing as a filmmaker. I wish for every student here today those kinds of openness, those kinds of tools as you guys all step out into this wild world. You deserve to feel as optimistic and inspired as I did at your age and know that you embody all our very best hopes and finest dreams.”

Among the speakers at the event were SBU President Maurie McInnis, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and student speaker for the Class of 2022 Ahmed Syed, a biology major. During his speech, Syed told his fellow SBU students about his parents who moved to the U.S. from India when they were in their 30s. Syed’s three brothers also graduated from SBU, and his older sibling, who is now a doctor in Florida, was the student speaker when he graduated from the university.  

“Stony Brook wasn’t just a college our family went to, it’s been our legacy,” Syed said. “Understand that my parents came here with nothing and now all four of their sons are college graduates. Not just four college graduates, but four Seawolves. This is nothing more than a testament to what Stony Brook stands for.”

After acknowledging exceptional students in the graduating class, McInnis had praise for all the members who she said inspired her and others.

“As you join Stony Brook’s more than 200,000 alumni across the globe, I hope you’ll stay connected to this unique and passionate community,” the university president said. “I hope you’ll continue to see Stony Brook as a second home, one that celebrates all you accomplish, strengthens your critical perspectives and supports your most ambitious endeavors.”

She quoted Jackson Pollock who once said, “Each age finds its own technique.”

“With the Class of 2022, it is very clear to me that your technique is to maintain a truly creative and collaborative spirit that will be your path forward,” McInnis said. “I know you will move together as individuals with a sense of discovery, ambition, innovation and artistry. Stony Brook University is incredibly proud of all you have achieved here — and all you will go on to create.”