Division Avenue Graduates Pave Their Path to the Future
Hofstra University's David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex was a sea of blue and white caps and gowns as 254 Division Avenue High School graduates from the Class of 2017 took the next step toward new challenges during the 58th commencement exercises.
Under the baton of Mark Martufi, the high school orchestra played "Pomp and Circumstance" as the graduates proceeded onto the floor with board of education trustees, administrators and faculty. Student Council president Steven Reilly led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the concert choir's seniors singing the national anthem.
In his address to the graduates, Principal John Coscia relayed principles of a five-play theory learned during his years of playing football. "Always be prepared to seize the moment and then seize it 100 percent," he said. "Take pause and reflect on the pivotal relationships in your lives." In addition, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tonie McDonald said the Class of 2017 has made its mark on the Levittown School District and urged the graduates to do things with "heart and sincerity." Keynote speaker John Theissen related the story of his health problems during senior year and how they drove his passion to form the John Theissen Children's Foundation. "Never give up and believe in your dreams," he said.
In addition to a musical interlude by the orchestra, who played "Pirates of the Caribbean," salutatorian Sisam Bhandari paid tribute to her immigrant parents for the opportunities she is currently experiencing in America. "There isn't a single day I don't think about the sacrifices made by my parents, who left their native country of Nepal just so I could be sitting in Starbucks sipping my caramel Frappuccino, or standing right here in this moment and graduating as salutatorian of my high school." Valedictorian Maria Mancz noted that because her peers were born into and live in a world of change, they are well prepared to take on the world. "We are so prepared, because change is all we know," she said. "I am not worried at all about the biggest change in our lives, the one that stands before us today." Class president Kristina Spano also urged her classmates to have a proper goodbye with friends and teachers they have met along the way.
After Board President James Moran certified that the seniors had met the requirements for graduation, the students approached the stage to receive his or her diploma and become alumni of the Levittown School District. Prior to joining their families, the Class of 2017 also watched a commemorative video presentation that featured short video clips and featured photographs of their years together.