Forward ‘14; Sullivan West graduates 95
July 2, 2014 —
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — No matter how many times in our lives we watch a line of graduates march in to Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” the feeling is always the same. One cannot help but feel awe, pride, joy and a tinge of nostalgia bearing witness to a graduation, that seminal rite of passage that closes one door as it simultaneously opens so many others.
As members of Sullivan West’s Class of 2014 went through their rite of passage, each part recorded for posterity with a plethora of iPhones, cameras and camcorders that would keep the memories fresh for years to come, this writer/photographer and eternal 17-year-old was moved beyond measure. And I had plenty of company in that experience.
Following the processional and a general welcome from Principal Margaret Tenbus, the senior high school chorus delivered a stirring rendition of “Like An Eagle,” by Carl Strommen. Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hackett focused her remarks on the idea of “paying it forward,” namely the giving of oneself to help others.
The Class of 2014 paid it forward by giving podiums to deserving teachers, inviting a congressman to be a speaker for a day, organizing and participating in fund raising, blood drives and community volunteering. “They were the most tutors in our tutoring groups,” she noted. “They were just good at helping each other,” she said, as she advised them to go out into the world and “pay it forward.”
Class salutatorian Elliott Moran followed suit with his exemplary speech. He reflected on the milestones of being at Sullivan West, including the friendships formed. “I don’t think any one of us could have asked for a better experience than Sullivan West provided for us,” he said. “We’re ready and eager to make our mark in the world.” He cited a story shared by his physics teacher titled “Life Is Like a Cup of Coffee.” The moral of the story was that life is the coffee and that is what we really seek; the vessels—e.g. the jobs, money or positions in society—are the cups. They are “just tools to contain life. The type of cup we have does not define the quality of the life we live. Savor the coffee not the cups. The happiest people in life don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything,” he noted wisely.