Eastport-South Manor Class of 2023 celebrates commencement

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Exuberant cheers from family, friends, and teachers filled Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School last week as members of the graduating Class of 2023 processed into the gymnasium for the school’s annual commencement ceremony.

Class Vice President Clare Gayer kickstarted the June 23 ceremony with the recitation of the pledge of allegiance, followed by a moving rendition of the national anthem performed by Kylee Jehle, Lennon Lotardo and Maeve Meyers.

“The foundation that you received here at ESM during your [13-year] marathon has prepared you to be successful wherever your path may go,” Board of Education President James Governali told the approximately 250 graduates at the ceremony.

In his speech, Governali emphasized the valuable lessons that the graduates had learned throughout their journey, including the importance of consistency, embracing change, perseverance, the understanding of failure, the presence of support, and the efficacy of hard work.

Class President Malaika Safian reminisced about the Class of 2023’s six-year tenure at the junior-senior high school, acknowledging the events of the past four years that have contributed to their collective productivity and success.

“One of the biggest things I learned from [my parents] is that you are the only one who can limit yourself,” Safian said.

Wise words from the salutatorian and valedictorian

Following Safian’s speech, class salutatorian Fiona Schlegel and valedictorian Benjamin Isaacson took the stage to address their fellow graduates, offering words of advice.

Schlegel expressed her hope that the graduates hope for the graduates “embrace the idea of resilience and the sense of community that ESM cultivated,” while Isaacson highlighted the power of resilience in achieving goals and emphasized the importance of empathy and support.

“It’s always possible to help someone in just the smallest ways,” Isaacson said while encouraging his peers to make a positive impact in the lives of others. “Why not be one of those people?”

Principal Salvatore Alaimo extended his congratulations to the top ten academic performance students of the Class of 2023 and offered thanks and acknowledgement to the seniors entering the U.S. armed forces. The principal shared six guiding principles with the graduates, including beliefs in oneself, setting and pursuing dreams, not giving up, genuine human interaction, reflecting on the past to achieve future success, and seizing the day.

Once the all of the diplomas had been received, the new graduates jubilantly tossed their caps and exited the gymnasium, officially becoming alumni of the Eastport-South Manor Central School District.

Photos: Courtesy of Eastport-South Manor Central School District.