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Schumer to Sayville High School Graduates: "Go For It"

Unannounced visit from Senator highlights the big day for Class of 2012

Mild weather, plenty of sunshine and a surprise visit from Senator Charles Schumer helped make a picture perfect graduation day for Sayville High School’s Class of 2012 on Saturday.

From the opening processional march to the obligatory cap-tossing finale, students, staff and guests savored the moment, celebrated the past, and looked toward a bright future for its newest crop of young men and women.

“We’re proud of you and your accomplishments,” said Dr. Walter Schartner, superintendent of Sayville Schools. “I remember you as wide-eyed kids in 2005. I encouraged you to get involved in the opportunities that were available to you. You exceeded our expectations. In 2008 once again I urged you to take advantage of opportunity, and once again you exceeded our expectations. As a graduating class you’ve helped set a new standard for and added to the excellence that is the Sayville schools. Now, make the next chapter of your life a little more successful.”

The morning ceremony was a roundrobin festival of commendations. School Board President Raymond Nelson led a round of applause for parents and grandparents. Students bound for college or for military service were recognized.

Valedictorian Erica Weinberg, Jacqueline Kalomiris and Class President Derek Hartnett praised teachers who had made a positive impact on their school careers. A total of 49 teachers were named to the class’ 'Teachers Who Made A Difference’ list.

Hartnett noted some of the many accomplishments of the past year -- a wind ensemble played Carnegie Hall, a softball team named NYS champs, and a football team that was Long Island champions and won the Rutgers Cup.

Sayville High School principal Ronald Hoffer noted with pride that 94 percent of the class had earned regents diplomas, 97 percent  were planning on further education, and that for the fourth year in a row, all 26 varsity athletic teams had been named to the state Scholar Athlete roster.

The day also included a traditional ‘Alumni Walk,’ with representatives of classes going back to 1938 participating.

Among the honors and awards, said Hoffer, more than $3.1 million in scholarships was won by the class.

The main event of the morning -- handing out of diplomas -- was interrupted mid-stream by the unannounced appearance of  Senator Charles Schumer, who told graduating seniors to “reach down deep, see what you’re made of. My advice is simple: go for it!”

“I have a vision -- I see the next Steve Jobs, the young men and women who will protect our nation, the teachers that will teach us, and even the plumber that’ll finally fix my sink,” said BOE Vice President John Verdone.

In his formal ‘Response For The Class,’ Hartnett also set his sight clearly on the future.

“Next year will be different -- we’ll face pressures not as a class but as individuals,” said the 2012 Class President. “But as Mr. Shaw said in English class, ‘millions have done this before us, and we can too.’

Carolyn Leyboldt June 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Sorry to disagree. I am a supporter of Mr Schumer but he definitely was NOT the highlight of my grandchildren's graduation! I think appearing unannounced, right in the middle of the ceremony, holding up the awarding of diplomas, and extolling his success in Congress, as his delivered his canned message to the graduates, was totally unwarranted. As we sat in the stands, broiling for over 2 hours, we really didn't appreciate a "20 minute commercial" followed by the big wave as Mr Schumer got back into his air conditioned limo and drove away. There is a time and place for everything and this certainly wasn't it. Good thing he"s not up for election this year.
Denise Karl June 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Other than my sunburn, it was a wonderful graduation ceremony!
Whatever June 25, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Mr Schumer speech was not about the kids. It was all he accomplished in office, as said above it was a 20 minute commercial. Hopefully he won't be there next year.
D June 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Although a bit repetitive each year (my son in college who plays in the band at his college's graduations says CS says the same thing each year, and it didn't vary much at my son's 2009 SHS graduation), the message was there. I may be mistaken and I beg to differ with the writer of this Patch article but I do believe his appearance was not "unplanned" or "unannounced"; the reason he appears in the middle of a ceremony is because he has many events he is attending and is going from graduation to graduation. We thought the ceremony was wonderful, great speeches by the kids, wonderful music by all, and although it was very warm and also were sunburned were thankful for the weather and that the graduation could be held outside! A great day all around :)
J. Lindquist June 26, 2012 at 03:11 AM
I so agree with all the comments above. Chuckie Schumer did NOT help make my daughter's graduation picture perfect. I thought his appearance mid-diplomas was obnoxious, superficial and completely unnecessary. The self-righteous accolades he spoke were ridiculous---these kids could care less about what he had to say---they just wanted to get out of the blazing sun. What made the day picture perfect? The awesome class of 2012 and the wonderful student speeches--plus all the smiles and tears from parents/family and friends. This business of using graduations to grandstand politicians has to stop! I plan on writing to the senator's office to tell them so.
J.R. June 26, 2012 at 04:53 AM
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J.R. June 26, 2012 at 04:56 AM
The graduation was supposed to be for the kids. The speeches were to long from the adult speakers, and the student speeches were way to long also. It was to hot, and the graduates should have been given water bottles in the intense heat.
carol smith June 30, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Schumer was not a surprise, but he could of been on time. Was't there to see him but, to see my son graduate. The joy of my life and I had the honor of presenting him with his diploma. Way to go Wesley. They can forget all of the blah blah blah talking it's just about seeing our children. Way to go class of 2012.

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