Valedictorian Erica Weinberg

    by Erica Weinberg, Class of 2012 Valedictorian

    (excerpt from speech)
    “I had no clue where to start,” Erica admitted with total honesty about her speech. Nor did she feel she had “created those life lessons” from which to draw inspiration.

    Instead, the Valedictorian for 2012 focused on the district’s previous motto From Roots to Wings to illustrate her message. “…after this day, we will spread our wings and fly in all directions, based on our individual desires, goals, and accomplishments. But instead of preaching to you...or attempting to shape or predict your future, I wish to reflect on the thing uniting us here together: the root of our experiences and the lessons learned here in Sayville.”

    Collectively thanking those who made “our experience at Sayville absolutely unforgettable,” Erica enumerated what life lessons she had acquired from the “people along the road of my high school career.” Although every teacher helped her “learn the basics from the letters in the alphabet to integrals in math problems...specific teachers left me with specific tidbits of knowledge:”

    • “From Mrs. Brown, I learned how to act as a mother to over 50 students, and yes, that did include feeding us. I also witnessed how to make the most use of the mere 24 hours in a day.”
    • “Mr. Gittler, as a Physics teacher, seemed to defy the laws of the universe himself by giving some of the most challenging tests and lengthy homework assignments, yet still being one of the most well-loved teachers in the school.”

    Erica included her orchestra conductor Mr. Kramer, Mr. Hall for his fashionable sweater vests, Mrs. Dreyer for her cure to any bad day by watching Friends, and Mr. Bennett for his true passion for Economics and action for a cause.”

    • “And from Mrs. Bernstein, aside from pure dedication, to how expressing annoyance and anger towards a class is really just a sign of love...Bernie, we love you too, and we’re so happy to share this day as your graduation from Sayville as well.”

    Erica thanked her family. “We’re teenagers, so we don’t really say it enough, but really and truly, thank you for everything...It is from my parents [that] I know to dream big, but never to be discouraged by the challenging road to turn these dreams to a reality. And it is through my sister, Monica, that I have witnessed this perseverance and success firsthand.”

    Acknowledging she “learned the most from you, my fellow classmates and friends,” Erica confided, “It is through you that the true meaning of ambition, perseverance, kindness, friendship, and strength has been defined for me. ...your passion to chase what you love with full force has inspired me.”

    A class described as tenacious and close, making “leaving here today, even more difficult,” Erica assured them, “we all share the same community, the same home, and the same place where our everlasting roots were established, and where today, they will be transformed to wings. Congratulations... I wish you the best of luck with the utmost faith that those wings take you exactly in life where you want to go.”