NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The New Rochelle High School Class of 2018 graduated this afternoon in a commencement ceremony filled with advice, encouragement and challenges for the members to be the best that they can be.
“I call on the Class of 2018 to find a path that each of you finds genuinely purposeful,” valedictorian Elijah Pomerantz said to the sea of 670 fellow purple-robed seniors on the high school’s McKenna Field. “Standing on the precipice of adulthood, we all have to decide what this next chapter of our lives will bring. Whether we are heading off to college, to work or to serve our nation, we are all poised to begin our adult years auspiciously.”
An incoming member of Princeton University’s freshman class, Pomerantz was one of 15 graduating seniors who will attend Ivy League colleges in the fall. The class completed a sweep of the prestigious schools, sending at least one student to each of the eight ivies – including eight students to Cornell University alone.
Pomerantz and salutatorian Randall St. Louis remarked on the wide range of passions and skills exhibited by the class.
“As I look out at this crowd in front of me,” said St. Louis, who will attend Harvard University, “I see future scientists who have grown out of the Science Research Program, future athletes who have started their careers with championships here, future artists and performers from the PAVE program who will soon be walking red carpets, future engineers who will take us deeper into the age of technology and future leaders who I hope to see on ballots later in life.”
Class President Ever-Maat Mack challenged her fellow graduates and the families and friends present to think about “privilege and perspective.”
“If you can’t understand where others are coming from, you can’t empathize,” she said. “We should strive to treat each other with a certain level of unconditional respect.”
Principal Reginald Richardson said the seniors had faced challenges and had shown themselves to be “passionate, intelligent, articulate and resilient.”
“Because of you, I am filled with hope and optimism for the future,” he said. “Because of you, I can see a world much better than the one we have today.”
Board of Education Vice President Jeffrey Hastie also addressed the graduates, telling them that they have shown courage and kindness this year.
“The most impressive takeaway for me is your sense of now,” Hastie said. “Now is your time to action. Now is your time to speak. Now is your time to do. You are not waiting your turn, asking for permission. Nor should you. You will shape your future and no one else. Such a conviction at any age is inspiring, but more so in the young.”
Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne told the graduates that they are ready to shape, “even radically alter,” the world.
“Graduates, whatever you do next, learn as much as you possibly can in every possible way,” he said. “Your education is not a place you attend or a class you take. It’s how you ultimately make sense of the world and your place in it. May you take the critical thinking and deeply held core values that are so embodied by New Rochelle, and bring all your joy, creativity and compassion to lead us to a better tomorrow.”