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Wantagh High School’s National Honor Society inducted 70 new members during a traditional candlelighting ceremony, held in the auditorium on Dec. 3. The evening featured words of wisdom from administrators, musical interludes from the high school’s string chamber ensemble and the singing of the national anthem by Katriana Koppe.

Principal Carolyn Breivogel told the inductees that “the small things they do defines their character,” and that as members of the honor society, they represent the “difference between right and wrong, action and inaction.” Superintendent of Schools John McNamara encouraged the inductees to be innovators and to explore their passions. Additionally, Board of Education President Elizabeth Guber noted that the inductees embody the values of Mr. Fred Rogers.

Keynote speaker and English teacher Julie Magnuson compared the inductees to Odysseus and his epic journey in “The Odyssey.” “Like Odysseus, you are leaders,” she said. “You are the kids who will change the world. Keep your eyes on the goal and find your Ithaca.”

Society trustees Alyssa Albanese, Theodore Hostetter, Elizabeth Maher and Katherine Mazzer lit the ceremonial candles, representing the tenets of scholarship, leadership, service and character, while co-vice presidents William Hostetter and Juliet Watstein led the inductees in the Society pledge. 

Each inductee was called to the stage where he or she received a certificate, representing membership in the honor society. The trustees also received their gold capes and National Honor Society pin, which will be worn during the spring’s graduation ceremony.  

During her closing remarks, co-president Elizabeth Byrnes remarked, “What you are doing is full of purpose and integrity.” She also reminded the inductees to be sure to enjoy their school year and membership in the honor society. Co-president Kaitlin Steingruebner also told the inductees that, as  members, they are someone who others look up to and that they are capable and prepared to continue on their journey as National Honor Society members.