The 134 members of Briarcliff High School's class of 2018 thanked their teachers, hugged their classmates, and celebrated with their families for the last time as high schoolers during the school's 95th commencement ceremony, held on Friday, June 15 at Pace University in Pleasantville.
The evening began with "Fanfare Flourish for Wind Band," performed by the Briarcliff High School band.
BHS Student Council Co-Presidents Kelly O’Donnell and Charlotte Sendak welcomed guests to stand for the academic procession. The BHS Symphonic Orchestra performed "Pomp and Circumstance" as administration, teachers, and the Class of 2018 entered. The BHS band then played the Star-Spangled Banner and the 2017-18 Student Council Co-Presidents Cynthia Contsantinou and Lindsay Mitzner welcomed the crowd and introduced BHS Principal Deborah French.
French proclaimed it “a spectacular evening for an incredibly spectacular class” and she praised them for being “hard-working, accomplished, enthusiastic, and most importantly up-standers.” She went on to recognize their stage, field, and classroom achievements. Her remarks were followed by another performance by the BHS Symphonic Orchestra, "Eagles Among Us "
Valedictorian Matthew Tu and Co-Salutatorians Farhaanah Mohideen and Sajan Bar delighted their classmates and the audience with speeches that were nostalgic, inspirational and funny.
The guest speaker was retiring teacher Jeanne Claire Cotnoir who recognized the class for its social awareness and dedication to hard work and each other and reminded them: “Be true to yourself, be honest and remember to practice human dignity.” Much to the students’ delight, her alter ego, “The Witch," made a guest appearance and reminded them: “Go easy on the caffeine, don’t wash your whites and reds together and study sober.”
Her speech was followed by the BHS Orchestra rendition of "Yesterday" and then Briarcliff Schools Superintendent James Kaishian took the stage. He acknowledged the retirements of Cotnoir and security guard Ken Aune with fun anecdotes and beautiful floral arrangements.
Kaishian complimented the class on its accomplishments and shared advice for the future, including that success is tethered to one’s willingness to try and fail.
He closed by saying: “Steer for deep waters, may luck be with you, and God bless.”
The BHS Chorus sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" before Class of 2018 co-presidents Derian Dominguez and Aleen Hussain recited the name of each graduate while French and Kaishian presented diplomas.
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