Members of John Jay High School’s Class of 2015 officially became alumni as they switched their tassels on the evening of June 23.
Despite repeated setbacks caused by the weather, the 287 graduates were all smiles as the entered and left Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah.
After the class entered to “Pomp and Circumstance” and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, school musical groups the Rolling Tones and the Noteables performed the national anthem, after which Interim Superintendent John Goetz welcomed the guests to the ceremony.
“The next step is clearly in your hands,” he said to the graduating students. “Stay focused and try to be happy in all that you do. The future needs happy, optimistic and balanced people.”
In her address, Board of Education President Marjorie Schiff told the class, “Throughout your time in high school, you have enriched the community, our community, through your dedication to academic, artistic, athletic and extracurricular endeavors. You have become important role models and contributors for the younger students at John Jay High School, for your siblings and for the children in our community.”
Class of 2015 Co-presidents Karen Beaty and Emma Jansen spoke about the characteristics that define the class and decided that diversity, friendship and the class’s special bond are legacies to be left behind with the school’s Key of Knowledge. That key was passed to the junior class’s co-presidents, Gabby Dowd and Kelly McDonald, who in turn thanked the graduates for serving as positive role models for the younger students.
Valedictorian Ryan Monasch, salutatorian Briana Tang and class speaker Enis Rraci each offered moments of reflection and advice to their peers. Rraci asked his classmates to applaud for the many people who had helped them during their high school years, from teachers and guidance counselors to cafeteria staff and parents.
“Once we go forth from our places of comfort, where our options are limited and our restrictions relatively maximized, we have more opportunity to make meaningful change, to make an impact, to move an entire hill or mountain or valley of sand, instead of single grains,” Monasch said. “Why don’t we go out into the world and make it a better place? Why not us?”
“The harder work is ahead, but so is the more intense reward,” said Principal Jessica Godin, one of the evening’s keynote speakers. “Know you will always have purple in your blood…most importantly, with trepidation or without, you are ready to move on to the next step of your journey knowing you will always find a way to land on your feet.”