It was quite the graduation day for Floral Park Memorial High School’s Class of 2016. With the commencement ceremony being held at Hofstra University’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex on June 25, these proud students were walking on air as they received their high school diplomas at the school’s 59th annual Commencement.
Making the day all the more special were the words of wisdom being offered up by the event’s special guest speakers: United States Senator Charles Schumer, New York State Senator Jack Martins and Sewanhaka Central High School District Board of Education trustee Laura Ferone.
“This graduating class has forever left its imprint on the halls of Floral Park Memorial,” Ferone said. “Your very existence these past years has been woven into the fabric of Floral Park Memorial history.”
Salutatorian Reema Kumar told classmates to “work and play hard,” while valedictorian Mahesh Tiwari told classmates that solutions to the world’s problems come only with hard work and collaboration.
“On this day of our graduation, let us commit to collaborating. Our world is plagued by inequality and social ills that need remedying. Women are objectified and dehumanized by the media, are paid less for the same work and are given fewer opportunities at work, at school and in the home. Whiteness is regarded as a global standard for beauty and in our nation people of color face greater discrimination in seeking housing and jobs, dealing with law enforcement and going through the justice system. LGBTQ people face violence, harassment and even legal penalties in some countries for simply existing. Those with disabilities are more likely to be victims of bullying,” Tiwari said. “The choice is simple. Do we remain silent and therefore complicit in the suppression of minority groups, or do we act and advocate?”
The soundtrack for the day was provided by the school’s band, under the direction of Lee Duke and the L.I. Sounds choir group.
—Submitted by Sewanhaka Central High School District