As luck would have it, the Commencement for Class of 2015 was held outdoors beneath cloudy skies on June 27th. Some may have felt it dampened the festivities, but compared to other years under the scorching sun, there was much good fortune in the unusually cool weather, the steady “wind off the sea,” and the threat of rain that ensured the graduation ended in a timely fashion.
Despite the troubled forecast, Sayville’s tradition held. Sayville Administrators and Board of Education members led the processional as the High School Band played the march. Excited shouts, encouraging applause, and shrill whistles greeted the 278 graduates in gold or purple robes as they crossed the green lawn behind the high school, stepped onto the red track, and headed to their seats on the football field. Followed by Teachers Who Made A Difference and more than 100 Alumni (one returning Alumnus was from 1938), who participated in the Annual Alumni Walk, the respectful graduates commemorated their last few hours as Sayville students with dignity.
Superintendent Dr. Walter Schartner greeted the graduates.With wisdom and wit, the speeches by Salutatorian Nick Cowan and Valedictoraian Shreeya Panigrahi (read by Mr. Lecci as Shreeya observed from Russia via a video call on her parent’s cellphone) shared insights; musical interludes were performed; and Board President John Verdone offered his congratulations. As the last diplomas were being awarded, a few droplets fell from the sky.
Luckily, the light sprinkle abated during the clever Response for the Class by Class President Tyler Merkle, but the potential prompted U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to tear up his traditional speech. Principal Ronald Hoffer abbreviated his closing remarks, even wished everyone God Bless America in lieu of the Jazz Choir’s traditional last song, and quickly wished the Class of 2015 the best of luck.
Immediately, a cloudburst of purple and gold mortarboards showered down from the sky while the spectators cheered and clapped like thunder.