Members of the Valley Stream Central High School District Class of 2022 celebrated their graduation from high school throughout the week of June 20, as departing seniors from each school took part in their respective commencement ceremonies.
In remarks to their colleagues, each school’s respective valedictorians and salutatorians reflected on their high school experiences and the exciting and daunting journeys ahead of them.
North High School salutatorian Lucy Wu used a driving metaphor, and her own journey to obtain a driver’s license, to illustrate the road ahead. “I’m sure wherever you go, there will be plenty more strange turns and mysterious sideroads, so I urge you to explore them all,” Lucy told her classmates. “Don’t be afraid to drive one way and make a U-turn to go back. If things get too hectic, there are brakes on a car for a reason. But first, we have to turn the key in the ignition in order to start embracing new destinations and embarking on new journeys. Buckle up, because we are the ones sitting in the driver’s seat now, dictating where we go next and how we get there.”
North valedictorian Disha Bhalla recounted the reactions of her own family to learning she had been named the top of her class to note the power of keeping your loved ones close. “The extraordinary reactions from my close ones, reactions that even I didn’t have toward my own achievement, made me realize how invested other people are in me, some even more than myself,” Disha said. “The same is true for you. There are so many people invested in and tied to you. They care deeply about you, want you to do your absolute best, cheer you on from the sidelines for your successes and achievements, and support you during your down moments.”
South High School salutatorian Connor Menzies reminded his classmates of the endless potential they all have in themselves. “These are people, in these very seats, who hold so much passion in their hands, and they haven’t let go of that. These are all people who have changed my life, and they are my light,” Connor said. “So I’ll ask one more time. What is your light? I hope that you find it. I hope that you nurture it. I hope that you never let go of it.”
Central High School salutatorian Tanusha Osmani urged her classmates not to give up when faced with inevitable setbacks. “Everyone faces hardship at some point in time. I ask that you recall the simile of life being like sailing across the sea,” Tanusha said. “Most people are in simple boats, moving at a steady pace before they reach the shore. Some people are in huge private yachts and enjoying luxury. Others might have a raft, or a piece of wood, or may even be thrashing about in the water without anything to hold on to. Wherever you are right now, you must keep moving. Even if the boat’s engine has been damaged, even if the raft is falling apart, even if you have to swim the entire way there, you must keep going. Because, at the end of the day, there is still land nearby.”
Central valedictorian Michael Sinclair advised his classmates to be true to themselves, and to “do you.” “Even though ‘do you’ has become a cliché, doing you takes a lot more than just living your life authentically,” Michael said. “It’s a mindset. It’s taking the necessary steps to achieve what you want. It’s advocating for yourself, and being your own supporter.”
After four years of challenges, however, South valedictorian Sameer Singh simply applauded his classmates for a job well done. “The past six years saw us herded hastily from puberty into the pandemic’s prison-like pen, and then shoved suddenly into the seemingly endless expanses of junior year coursework and college applications,” Sameer said. “Yet here we are, having weathered every storm that either threatened to blow us off our path or to have erased our path entirely, as graduates. Congratulations, everyone.”
For more information about the Valley Stream Central High School District, please visit the District’s website at https://www.vschsd.org/, and like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ValleyStreamCentralHighSchoolDistrict