Glad to be a Grad

By Tessa Cherian


On Sunday, June 26, New Hyde Park Memorial’s graduating class of 2022 entered David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex at Hofstra University. The graduating seniors donned blue gowns and decorated caps with designs, such as their college’s emblem or inspirational quotes. With each student given 10 tickets for 10 guests, the rows were filled with parents, siblings, extended family and friends all waiting to cheer on their loved ones.


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Friends and family of New Hyde Park graduates fill the stands.


“Walking into the building, I couldn’t believe the moment was coming. I was officially going to be a high school graduate, and my family would be there to see it. Seeing how proud and happy my family was made me realize that they were a huge part in my ability to succeed in high school,” senior Sneha George said.


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Some graduating seniors wear customized caps during the ceremony.


“When I walked into Hofstra on the day of my graduation, it felt a little surreal, but it hadn't hit me yet that I would never see anyone again. It was exciting seeing everyone in their caps and gowns ready to graduate because we’ve all come so far since elementary school,” senior Miriya Lok said.


The Class of 2022’s co-presidents, salutatorian and valedictorian gave speeches about their time at NHP, as well as some distinct advice for the future. Co-Presidents Samantha Chang and Riley Griffin emphasized that it is normal to have an unclear idea about what the future holds and how it is important to be proud of how far graduates have come.


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Class of 2022's Co-Presidents Samantha Chang and Riley Griffin exit the stage together.


Soon after, Salutatorian Emma Ouyang gave a speech focusing on advice she learned from her mother. She talked about the importance of putting oneself first and gaining a strong sense of self.


“For my speech, I chose the theme of honesty. Remaining true to yourself can be difficult, especially when entering a new stage of life. I wanted to emphasize this through my own experiences where my choices defied societal and personal expectations,” Ouyang said.


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Salutatorian Emma Ouyang receives her diploma after delivering her speech.


Finally, as the last student speaker, Valedictorian Laurence Lai, used the concept of waves in a pool to metaphorically represent the Class of 2022’s time at NHP. Though many deep events hit the class throughout their six years, such as the pandemic, they were able to triumph over them. Lai noted that they still have a further path to sail.


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Valedictorian Laurence Lai reflects on the time graduates spent at New Hyde Park.


“The speeches reminded us of the memories throughout the years and allowed us to fully close this beautiful chapter in our lives!” senior Mahek Chaudry said.


To make the event even more memorable, NHP’s band and select choir performed multiple times in between speeches. Many seniors who were a part of the band or choir got up to join their group for each performance.


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New Hyde Park's select choir performs in between speeches.


After every graduating student got up and proudly walked across the stage to receive their diploma, Dr. Richard Faccio said his final speech. He directed the seniors to move their tassels from right to left, and with that, New Hyde Park Memorial’s senior class of 2022 had officially completed High school.


"The whole graduation ceremony was astonishing and it was a really special day for me. It was an honor for me to perform during the graduation. I sang my heart out! I'm happy that everything went so well," senior Henry Kang said.


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Dr. Richard Faccio sends off the graduates by inviting the class to move their tassels.