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The district’s 64th annual commencement exercises took place on Lawrence Field on June 14, as 242 graduates processed to their seats as the high school band, under the baton of director Danilo Aviles, played “Pomp and Circumstance.”

After a presentation of colors by Kate Padgett, Anthony Piergiovanni and Matthew Rogers and a flag salute by General Organization co-presidents Kathleen Browne and Melanie Volz, senior student conductors Katherine Proscia and James Seaman led the band for the last time during the playing of the national anthem.

In her welcome address, High School Principal Carolyn Breivogel extended a warm welcome to the Class of 2019 and their guests and explained that the graduates’ kindness, courteous nature and humble attitudes make them a graduating class like no other. She also encouraged them moving forward to set goals, take chances, have self-respect, love who they are and be risk-takers.   

Superintendent of Schools John C. McNamara told the graduates that the class’ strength and character will be their “ultimate legacy.” He said, ”Your strength of character and inner voice will guide you. Be strong and make life count.”

Board of Education President Peter Mountanos asked the question, what do you want to do with your future? He said, “Don’t focus on the status quo, but focus on the difference you are going to make.”

Wantagh Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Fund President Gerald McCrink then presented graduates Kathleen Browne, Thomas Garvey, Amanda Gray, Michael Kearney, Angela Labenberg, Jillian Laino, Dylan Loiacono, Erika Meagher, Thomas Moran, Eric Sedig, Matthew Soethout and Kaitlyn Steele with scholarships, thus continuing the tradition of honoring educational excellence.

Salutatorian Andriana Patmanidis then took the podium where she touted the importance of family and family values. “The strength of family will always defy the odds,” she said. Valedictorian Samantha Minars told her peers that they can rewrite the history of their generation through community service and helping others. “Continue to be an active member of the community,” she said.

After Mr. McNamara and Mr. Mountanos certified that the seniors had met the standards for graduation, they were called to the podium one-by-one to receive a medal and their diplomas, marking their becoming alumni of the Wantagh School District. The board of education and administration and faculty extend best wishes of happiness and success to the Class of 2019.