Anticipation and excitement filled the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex at Hofstra University on June 16 as 301 students from General Douglas MacArthur High School's Class of 2018 prepared to commemorate the next chapter of their lives. Dressed in blue caps and gowns, students entered the complex surrounded by proud family and friends to "Pomp and Circumstance" conducted by band director Joseph Romano.
At the opening of the ceremony, senior choir members performed the National Anthem and the song "My Life" by the Beatles. Principal Joseph Sheehan welcomed loved ones to the momentous occasion and offered encouragement to the Class of 2018.
"Graduates, your cement foundation is still wet, now is the time to leave your imprint in it" he said. "Be ready to embrace the new experiences that lie ahead and step onto the road to the future with steadfast confidence."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tonie McDonald addressed the graduates and their families as she spoke about the students' journey from kindergarten student on the first day of school to high school graduates, ready for adulthood.
"As you undoubtedly continue to grow and succeed in life as you do, don't forget you will always be part of the MacArthur family," she said. "If you need us, just call because after all, once a General, always a General."
Keynote speaker and MacArthur High School alumnus David Falk received a plaque from Dr. McDonald and Principal Sheehan to commemorate being inducted into the district's 2017 inaugural Hall of Fame before he addressed the graduates. Falk, the CEO and founder of Falk Associates Management Enterprises shared his experience growing up and his road to success.
"Make your journey fun, make your journey memorable and make an impact," he said.
In addition, salutatorian Yingyue "Maggie" Liu, class president Delilah Spinelli and valedictorian Helen Zhang each spoke during the ceremony, reflecting on their years as a student and encouraging their fellow graduates to follow their dreams. Before the presentation of diplomas, a video presentation which highlighted the graduating class was shown, followed by commendations from Board of Education President Peggy Marenghi.
One by one, each student was announced on stage to receive their diplomas and was congratulated by Principal Sheehan, Dr. McDonald, central administrators, members of the board of education, Levittown Council of PTA's President Mary Rickard, Falk, Nassau County Legislator John Ferretti and Town of Hempstead Councilman Dennis Dunne as they officially completed their time at MacArthur High School.