Congratulations to the Class of 2023!
June 27, 2023
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After a one-day delay due to a rainy forecast, the Sayville High School Class of 2023 officially graduated at noon on Saturday June 24.
The Class of 2023 is an extremely accomplished group of students. Ninety-five percent of the students in the Class of 2023 will go on to further education and approximately ninety-nine percent of graduates earned Regents diplomas this year. Another point of pride is that eighty-one percent of the Class of 2023 will attend a four-year college or university, the district’s highest percentage ever.
In addition, in attendance at the 2023 Sayville High School graduation were Sayville graduates from 1948 through 2022.
To see all of the photos in a downloadable format, please CLICK HERE.
The National Anthem
The ceremony began with a singing of the National Anthem by the following senior members of the Sayville High School Chorale:
Dr. Ferris and the Story of the Talking Camel
After the singing of the anthem, the first speaker was Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Marc Ferris. Dr. Ferris told the graduating class a short story about three students who were completely lost in the desert. The students were getting a little scared because several days had gone by and they were hungry and thirsty and they couldn’t find their way out. Suddenly, the students came upon a talking camel. The students walked up to the camel and the camel handed each of them an empty bag and told them to pick up as many rocks as they could and put them in the bag.
The first student looked at the camel and said ‘that’s ridiculous, you’re a talking camel’ and then swung the bag over their shoulder and walked on. The second student thought ‘well, you are a talking camel, maybe I’ll listen a little bit’ and picked up a couple of rocks, swung the bag over their shoulder and walked on.
The third student took the camel's advice very seriously. They didn’t understand the advice but they picked up every rock they could find and filled their bag and for weeks carried their heavy bag through the desert.
But as time went on the third student that carried so many rocks got stronger. This student also understood the topography of the land because they were looking and paying attention and doing their due diligence. And eventually it was this student who led the other students out of the desert.
At the end of the story Dr. Ferris told the graduating class that the reason he told it was because “sometimes childhood is confusing. Sometimes school makes no sense. Sometimes, you feel lost, like you’re wandering through a desert and you have camels talking to you telling you what to do.”
Dr. Ferris congratulated the graduates because all of them had some element of a filled bag in order to get where they are. However, Dr. Ferris told them, with this new adventure on the horizon they each had a fresh new bag full of potential.
“So, when you head out into the world, start picking up some rocks and putting them in the bag,” Dr. Ferris told the graduates. “Every rock you put in prepares and strengthens you for the future.
Salutatorian Karishma Patel - “The Importance of Being”
Salutatorian Karishma Patel gave a beautiful speech titled “The Importance of Being.”
“Being vs doing,” Karishma told her fellow graduates. “We often conflate these two ideas. While the difference may seem small, what we choose to be is far more important than what we choose to do.”
“In whatever careers we decide to pursue, there will always be tasks to complete, deadlines to meet, pressures to navigate, time we must manage, and the ever-present battle against procrastination.”
“In such an environment, we think the only way to get through is to do do do but much is lost in that approach. We lose sight of our greater purpose.”
Karishma explained that for a long time it felt that all she knew was how to do. Only recently, she said, did she discover the experience of being.
Karishma spoke to her fellow graduates about their generation and all they had witnessed together.
“But beyond our collective fondness for viral challenges, we are a generation that cares deeply about the world around us,” Karishma said. We have witnessed the injustices that persist and the inequalities that divide. We have seen the effects of climate change and the prohibition on girls' education. We have heard the cries for racial justice and gender equality. There is no doubt that our lives, especially in the last few years, have so far been populated with disasters, tragedies, and heartbreaks, but that only drives us to do more.”
“But here’s the thing: we have something incredibly powerful on our side, and that is our passion. We may be young, but we are fierce.”
Karishma reminded her classmates that while work must be done, it's important to take time for oneself, whether that’s binging Netflix or hanging out with friends.
“We all live in a life where we must do do do but let the moments of who we want to be guide what we want to do,” Karishma concluded.
Patricia Ann Kubelle Memorial Award Winner Benjamin Flaumenhaft sang “I’ll Follow the Sun.”
Valedictorian Michael Pitre - “Our True Colors”
After dancing up to the podium to the tune of James Browns’ “I Got You”, valedictorian Michael Pitre had his fellow graduates close their eyes.
“Now think of the sky- not blue and bright as it is today, but thick with dark ominous clouds,” Michael asked of his fellow graduates. “Piercing through these clouds, you can see a brilliant rainbow, a glimmer of hope. At the bottom of the rainbow is the color violet, or purple, holding up the rest of the colors as they break through the clouds with fierce determination. If you look all the way to the end of the rainbow, you’ll see a pot of gold, sparkling not with the allure of money, but with irrepressible happiness and laughter.”
Michael then had the graduates open their eyes.
“Look out amongst the beautiful faces behind me. In each and every one of my peers, you can clearly see there is a perfect mix of purple and gold- of mental fortitude and spirited joy. On the electromagnetic spectrum, purple is the strongest color because its wavelength is very short.”
Michael continued on to remind his fellow graduates of everything that they had been through together, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to learning from home and being split up into cohorts.
“The Class of 2023 understands that sometimes, we had to work hard to find joy - to find our pot of gold. For us, that was senior year. We started off the year by gathering at Land’s End for Senior Sunrise. Soon after, we laughed at a comedy show from our favorite film producers while eating breakfast and receiving yearbook superlatives.”
My class’s purple willpower has filled this past year with tremendous accomplishments: we have a research paper in the process of being published in an international journal, our Dance and Flag Football teams were both built up from scratch, and our Girls’ Cross Country team brought home a state championship. But let’s not forget, these feats couldn’t have been done without a bit of fun. Countless gold-plated friendships have been forged in the auditorium, the labs, and on the fields. With each of these connections, we’ve lifted each other up to success. You see, for the Class of 2023, purple and gold- determination and joy- go hand in hand, just like our football players as they walked onto this very field before going on to win the Suffolk County Championship.”
Michael called on his class to not only make the world a better place but to enjoy themselves while doing it.
Board of Education Vice President Mr. Thomas Cooley - “Do Good, Be Good”
Vice President of the Board of Education Thomas Cooley began his speech by recognizing Board of Education President John Verdone, who could not be there for graduation.
“John Verdone, our board president, has dedicated more than twenty years of community service,” Mr. Cooley told the crowd. “He has led Sayville Schools through some of the most difficult of times and always his number one priority was doing what was good for students of Sayville.”
Mr. Cooley then spoke to the graduates about the mantra he said to his sons when they were growing up “do good, be good.”
“A lifetime of simple acts of kindness is all it takes,” Mr. Cooley told the graduates, “And the key is respect. Respect for the less fortunate, respect for those who are different and respect for those with a difference of opinion.”
President of the Class of 2023 Bobby Zane - “Gone in a Flash”
Class President Bobby Zane, focused his speech on “The Golden Flashes,” Sayville’s mascot.
“For years, people have questioned how a lightning bolt represents our community, some have even suggested that we should have a tougher sounding mascot like an eagle or even a bobcat,” Bobby said. But I promise you, that a golden flash is an amazing mascot that can teach us all an important way to view the world and the adventures we will encounter.”
Bobby reflected on all of the close friendships he forged with classmates and teachers alike and reminded his classmates to savor the present because the experience will be over “in a flash.”
Teachers Who Made A Difference 2023
The following teachers were selected by students in the Class of 2023 as "Teachers Who Made a Difference" in their lives.
Teachers are followed by the student(s) who nominated them.
Mr. Stephen Aronsen - Erin Marshall
Mr. Christian Bannon - Luke Lundquist, Gavin Noone
Ms. Danielle Baron - Clare Smith
Ms. Geraldine Batterberry - Abigail Noack
Mr. John Bombara - Ryan Hess
Ms. Stephanie Bricker - Sara Jaklitsch
Mr. Adam Brown - Amanda Kleinman, Michael Pitre
Mr. Richard Caskey - Riley Lapine
Mr. Bryan Coon - Alexander Altkin
Ms. Marguerita Dashiell - Ryan Dong, Rodrannie Ford, Kristen Tellier
Ms. Karen DiMartino - Maya Guacci, Grace McCavanagh, Molly McGinnis, Jayliani Perez
Ms. Audra Feeley - Ava Leach
Mr. Gregory Finley - Alex Lepping
Ms. Nina Gallo - Emma Law
Ms. Heather Gonzalez - Mia Santana, Olivia Schait
Mr. Evan Hammer - Jacqueline Wetzel
Ms. Susan Hart - Emma Haas, Angelina LaFroscia
Ms. Karen Hooks - Owen Burke, Abigail O'Connell, Ava Gustafson
Ms. Suzanne Hoss - Brianna Linss
Ms. Suzanne Jones - Justin Delaney, Chloe O'Connell
Ms. Michelle Kearney - Olivia Desiderio
Mr. James Knote - Liam Higgins
Mr. Ari Kramer - Adriana Savino
Mr. Robert Kuhlman - Giuletta Imperato, Reid Smith
Ms. Gabrielle Lambiase - Zachary Zehner
Mr. James Lecci - Patrick Lipari
Ms. Adriana LoCicero - Joseph Handler
Ms. Brooke Mattimore - Noa DiNapoli, Kevan McCann
Ms. Liana Meloni - Ethan Alcantara
Ms. Heather Methven - Emily Andersen
Ms. Hannah Michaelson - Jack Rubino
Mr. Matthew Nani - Taylor Hoss, Robert Zane
Mr. Jack Nielsen - Emily Langhan
Ms. Angela O'Hoppe - Timari Jackson, Ryan Leniec
Ms. LynnAnn Perlin - Kyle Panasuk
Mr. Douglas Shaw - Aydan Jantz, Owen Parrott
Ms. Dawn Thelian - Anna Meserve, Julie Weisenberger
Ms. Donna Trpicovsky - Amelia McCarthy
Ms. Ruth Tyldesley - Jack Owenburg
Ms. Kerri VanBoxel - Robert Desjardins
Mr. William Vogel - Reilly Diwby, Thomas DuTot, Alec Rieppel, Camden Twaite
Graduates Thomas Golio and Ryan Karman were recognized for their upcoming service in the United State Military. Thomas will be going to the U.S. Military Academy West Point and Ryan will be joining the U.S. Coast Guard.