Graduating New Rochelle High School seniors were celebrated today for persevering during unprecedented times to complete their academic requirements and become the Class of 2022.
Overall, 668 degrees were conferred. The ceremonies, on New Rochelle High School’s McKenna Field, was a return to a traditional single ceremony after COVID-19 safety protocols required last year’s graduation to have two separate celebrations.
Festivities began with the procession of graduates onto the field. Several speakers addressed the joyous crowd. Freedom and connectivity were common themes.
City School District of New Rochelle Superintendent Jonathan Raymond focused on the importance – and future – of freedom in his remarks to graduates, families, faculty, and staff. “Class of 2022, your graduation today is an opportunity for you to take the skills you have learned here, along with your unique voices, to help build and preserve a more vibrant future for freedom, a better world where human dignity can flourish,” he said.
Raymond also praised graduates for resiliently coping with the pandemic as well as two months of remote learning to start the school year. The high school building opened to students on Nov. 1, 2021 due to flooding damage caused by Hurricane Ida. “You persevered through a global pandemic and a natural disaster,” he said. “You represent the very best of New Rochelle, and you are already showing that you are leaders and have what it takes to help shape a better tomorrow. We are proud of you!”
New Rochelle High School Principal Dr. Dagoberto Artiles also recounted how the school year started with remote learning, and identified a silver lining from that experience. “We finish this school year with a better appreciation for the need for connection,” he said, discussing how students bonded and academically excelled in so many impressive ways. That, he said, sets the foundation for a bright future: “Help make a better environment for your community and your country,” he said.
Board of Education President Julia Muggia Ochs provided words of motivation, reading a passage from Langston Hughes’ “Freedom’s Plow”: “All men are created equal. No man is good enough to govern another man without his consent. Better die free, than to live slaves. Who said those things? Americans! Who owns those words? America! Who is America? You, me! We are America! To the enemy who would conquer us from without, We say, NO! To the enemy who would divide and conquer us from within, We say, NO! FREEDOM!” She finished her comments by saying, “We cannot wait to see what comes next for you! Congratulations!”
Students also offered encouragement and gratitude. Valedictorian Celine Glennon said, “I urge you to live happily and authentically. You’ve all worked so hard for the past four years. Today we are here to celebrate that. You will be great and I wish you all the best.”
Class of 2022 President Jeba Karim echoed Artiles’ comments about the importance of community. She recounted the school year, from remote learning to graduation, and said, “I hope we carry the importance of connections no matter where life may lead us… Congratulations Class of 2022! We did it!”
After the speeches, anticipation and excitement filled the air as graduates’ names were called, degrees were conferred, and graduation caps were excitedly tossed toward the sky.
The Leonard Talner Memorial Award was presented to Maribela Dias. The award honors a member of the class judged by the Class of 2022 to have done the most for and brought the most honor to New Rochelle High School. Last week, the high school held award ceremonies honoring academic, extracurricular, and athletic achievement.
Photos of the graduation ceremony can be found on the City School District of New Rochelle Facebook page.
Read Superintendent Raymond’s remarks here.