Pride, Passion, Purpose
By Eugenia Moskowitz
The 2018 class of seniors at Washingtonville High School exemplified pride, passion, and purpose, principal Brian Connolly said at the district’s commencement exercises on June 21. “We share our victories together,” he said to the students, “and mourn our losses together.”
In a year that saw many ups and downs for the senior class, these words hit students directly as Connolly, himself a grad, touched upon the joys and the stresses of the last few months, and the resilient character of Wizard Nation. He also praised the district’s students for consistently having the highest graduation rate in Orange County, and in racking up $6.2 million in scholarship money this year.
Maya Diaz then moved the audience with her simple message: “Appreciate every moment, learn from every mistake, and always stand together.” She voiced the words of John West III, whose parents later accepted his diploma on his behalf, when she quoted what is probably the most poignant of his lyrics: “Life’s fast, slow down.”
These sentiments were echoed by Oyindamola Ogunlade and Alexander Cestari, and class of 2000 grad (and grammy award winner) Ray Romulus, who said, “Success is pitfalls and setbacks and repositioning and pivoting. Be patient, spread love, run your own race. And don’t measure your life by someone else’s.”
As the seniors received their diplomas and crossed the stage, Kiersten Haub got a surprise greeting by her brother Michael, a Marine, who stood waiting to give her a giant hug.
At the evening’s close, lit by a fiery sunset, the entire senior class and audience of friends and family rose and stood as one as West’s parents crossed the stage with John’s diploma held tightly. Then tassels were switched and caps flew as the students marked the beginning of the rest of their lives.
CAPTION 1: Kiersten Haub was surprised by her brother Michael as she accepted her diploma. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)
CAPTION 2: Words by John West III decorated the mortarboard of Taylor Fagan. (Photo provided)
CAPTION 3: It was a sea of blue gowns, gold sashes, and decorated mortarboards as Washingtonville’s graduating class filed onto the football field to Pomp and Circumstance. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)
CAPTION 4: The sun set in a beautiful display of color over Washingtonville’s graduating class. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)