The intense heat and humidity that blanketed Dean Field on Friday morning, June 22 couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Scarsdale High School class of 2012 who gathered there with parents, friends, family and teachers to celebrate their graduation. As class president Alex Altieri said, the class managed to find a balance between fun and following the rules -- and was successful in restoring school spirit and the faith of the administration.. That attitude, as well as the sun shone through at the ceremony where students endured the heat without complaint and gave their classmates their due.
Before the processional onto the field, the class assembled in the gym to take a class photo and applaud classmate Olivia Harris for her individuality and for marching to her own beat.
The class lined up in alphabetical order and proceeded to the field in two well-choreographed lines to the sound of the band playing pomp and circumstance. Outgoing School Board President Jill Spieler told them that they “represent what Scarsdale values most: educated youth,” She encouraged them to work hard to achieve accomplishments that endure and to go outside their comfort zones and leave room for mistakes that will lead to new opportunities. She concluded by saying, “ you have nothing less than the world to consider.”
Class treasurers Matthew Feigin and Steven Nadel introduced their “loving, devoted, and upbeat” faculty advisors, Lauren Meyer and Eric Rauschenbach.Saying “no man is poor if he is has friends, they introduced their teachers with the words “I give you two of the richest people in Scarsdale.”
Meyer referenced a much-publicized high school graduation speech recently given at Wellesley High School where an English teacher admonished the students that “none of you is special.” He said they were similar to thousands in the area and more across the country, though many had been told they were exceptional. He told the students to do good work not for the accolades but for the intrinsic satisfaction it will bring and told “to climb the mountain so that you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
The two teachers echoed this theme and advised the students to “ignore the noise, figure out your own truth, let your life speak and listen to your own voice.” They told the class to “awaken what already lies within you and to use “tenacity and resilience.” They referenced JFK who took time off during the Cuban missile crisis to take a swim – (as many in the audience wished they could do) – not to relax but to re-connect with himself.
Next Troy Kerwin presented the Kenneth Rosenberg Scholarship to Alec Quitalino and Nina Wollberg presented class president Alex Altieri who has held that job since freshman year. Altiieri said “Today is the day!” and complimented his classmates, who he called some of the “most accomplished students.” He said the class learned to succeed through their failures – and joked that they “never found the high school pool, made Mr. Wagner laugh, had a barbeque in the snow or a gridlock that lasted more than two minutes.” However, the class did garner the trust of the administration, restored school spirit and enjoyed many high school traditions like the homecoming dance and Junior Olympics -- and came out in force to support Scarsdale’s teams.
Before the diplomas were presented, departing Co-Principal Fred Goldberg took the podium and said, “this is not the culmination but the commencement,” and “we deliver you to the threshold of independence.” Harkening back to his graduation in 1968 he told the students, that his classmates held “a belief that we could change the world. They “secured equal rights, and “voiced their concerns,” whether they were hawks or doves. “Men burned their draft cards and women burned their bras. “ He quoted Bob Dylan from “The Times They are a Changing” and Toni Morrison who said “that the pursuit of happiness is not good enough.” He cautioned against “looking good instead of doing good” and told the students, “you have a lot to offer this world, go out and make it a better place.”
With that, Dr. McGill bid the class of 2012 to go forth and serve the common good, and 357 students received their diplomas.
See our coverage of heat stroke at the ceremony here: