On June 28, hundreds gathered in the stands on the football field to applaud the Westhampton Beach High School Class of 2019. The students were recognized for seemingly countless achievements in academics, athletics, science, performing and fine arts, volunteerism, entrepreneurial endeavors, activism, and humanitarian efforts.
During the commencement ceremony, speakers including Principal Dr. Christopher Herr, Superintendent of Schools Michael Radday, Board of Education President Susan Mensch, student representatives, valedictorian Christopher Nathan Bender and salutatorian Frank Murphy Lapinski spoke of the students’ personal and academic growth. “Take the world by storm, work hard and never forget you are from Hurricane country,” Dr. Herr said.
Senior class historian Anna Sophia Peraino detailed a few of the memory-making events that brought the students closer through the years, as well as the funnier side of the that growth, such as getting their driver’s licenses and “illegally” parking in the elementary school lot. Summing up, she said graduation day was bittersweet, and borrowed words from the band Scorpion, “you’ll go far if you keep rockin’ like a hurricane.”
Mr. Lapinski picked up the thread, offering his own take on their years together. “Through work and constant change, we have learned to turn dreams into reality.” He will attend The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. Mr. Bender, too, recounted their experiences, on the lacrosse and football fields and off, and shared his confidence that the foundation they built at Westhampton Beach would enable them to continue to make their mark on the world. He will pursue a biochemistry degree at Williams College.
The ceremony also featured a poetry reading by Richard Kern, Senior Class Poet, and performances by the high school chorus and band and recognized Jane Isabel Alavez and Christina Nguyen Marsicano who have enlisted in the U.S Army and U.S Marine Corp., respectively.
After accepting their diplomas, and tossing their caps, the Hurricane’s mascot led the students off the football field towards their next chapter of success.