The early fog was chased away by the summer sun on Saturday, June 25th, just as the Class of 2011 processed onto Warren King Field for Garden City High School’s 76th Annual Commencement Ceremony. The agreeable weather marked the third year in a row that graduates and their family and friends celebrated graduation outdoors. The beauty, comfort and safety provided by the new bleachers framed the morning’s pomp and circumstance perfectly – a major school district improvement that held the well- wishers and proud parents in style.
Musical performances were provided by the Ceremony Winds conducted by James McCrann and The Senior Chorale, directed by Robert Ludwig, who provided two vocal selections. Garden City High School Principal Nanine Cuttitta, pride evident on her face, hosted the ceremony, introducing speakers Salutatorian Michael Mongelli, Class President Jake Galasso, who presented the class gift, Julia Mahoney Scholarship Winner Timothy Dooley, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen, Valedictorian Jan Gong, and keynote speaker, high school English teacher Carlo Rebolini.
The Class of 2011 leaves the school having made its mark with achievements in the academics, on the playing field, and in giving back to the community. They are moving onto Harvard, Yale, and Cornell, and, with 99 percent attending colleges and universities across the nation, carry the Garden City name with them, along with a host of high school memories to last a lifetime.
During her speech, Valedictorian Jan Gong challenged her classmates to raise the bar as the graduates embark on their college journeys: “The world outside of Garden City High School needs us. Currently, lack of affordable health care, unemployment, the disparities in education, and the ongoing costs of national defense—both in terms of money and in lives—are just some of the obstacles that we, as a nation, will need to address. Stopping global warming, finding new alternative energy sources, ending world hunger, and establishing worldwide peace are major global tasks that we will continue to pursue in the future. So many challenges await.”
“Perhaps one of the most significant things we can take with us from the past four years,” Jan continued, “is the potential to fix the problems that our nation and the world face. We have developed the skills to learn more, the aptitude to succeed, and the abilities to make a difference. We must now harness this potential and strive to make the world a better place. J.K. Rowling, in her 2008 Harvard Commencement Address, said, ‘We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.’ I am confident that we now possess the tools necessary to become the policy makers, doctors, lawyers, researchers, inventors, artists, teachers, and entrepreneurs that the world needs. As I look at our talented Class of 2011, I am filled with the hope and the belief that our future is in good hands.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2011!