Hofstra University's David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex was a sea of blue caps and gowns as 330 MacArthur High School graduating seniors from the Class of 2016 celebrated a long-awaited milestone during the school's 55th annual commencement ceremony.
Led by high school principal Joseph Sheehan, members of the administration and staff and Board of Education trustees, the graduates proceeded to their seats to the symphonic band's playing of "Pomp and Circumstance," performed under the direction of Joseph Romano. Class of 2016 President Nicholas Nocella led the graduates in the Pledge of Allegiance, after which the senior chorus, under the direction of Lisa Levenberg, sang the national anthem.
After telling the graduates that being able to announce them as his first graduating class is the proudest moment in his career, Sheehan dispensed some valuable advice. "You have to find the balance between finding a job that makes you financially secure and one that makes you truly happy," he said. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tonie McDonald told the graduates, "Think about how you will make a mark on the world." In addition, Board of Education President Peggy Marenghi also urged the graduates to think with their hearts. "You have changed the world because of your hearts," she said.
In addition to speeches by U. S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes, salutatorian Ashley Kim encouraged her peers to emulate General Douglas MacArthur who fought for a cause, who was open minded and innovative and could adapt to new obstacles. Class President Nocella told peers
they have to "live and learn to learn to live," while valedictorian Gregory Matousak likened life to a candle. "Use your passion, your careers, even your words to kindle the flames of friends, family members and even strangers," he said. "Together, our flames can ignite the world."
After the students and audience watched a commemorative video presentation, Marenghi certified that the seniors had met the requirements for graduation. Each student then walked across the stage to receive his or her diploma to become an alumnus of the Levittown School District.