BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Administrators and student leaders offered words of wisdom to graduates of Briarcliff High School’s Class of 2015 as they smiled with anticipation as their commencement ceremony got underway at Pace University on Friday.
Students entered the Goldstein Fitness Center to applause from family members and friends, climbing to the stage as high school students. Just two hours and a victorious cap toss later, those same students exited as BHS alumni. The evening included musical accompaniments and performances by the high school chorus and orchestra.
Orchestra director Anna Ostrofsky led her last performance during the ceremony and bowed to a standing ovation. Ostrofsky, along with special education teacher Nancy Crosby, will be retiring at the end of the school year. They were recognized for their service by Superintendent of Schools James Kaishian, who also took time to thank and recognize Board of Education Vice President Dina Brantman.
Principal Debora French recalled the nervous glances that the Class of 2015’s members gave one another when they entered the school as freshmen four years ago. “I saw excitement, unbridled potential, intellectual curiosity and a drive to excel at every challenge, but most importantly, I saw 162 unique teenagers striving to set themselves apart and contribute their own distinctiveness to our wonderful high school,” she said.
Valedictorian Grace Orr and co-salutatorians Alex Fu and Allen He each offered parting words to their peers before diplomas were awarded. “I bet a lot of you don’t know what you want to do with your lives – I sure as heck don’t,” Orr said. “But no matter what we end up doing, I know it will be good. I know because we owe it to the world to live positive, productive lives.”
The Class of 2015 chose social studies teacher Daniel Lavelle as the evening’s guest speaker. Lavelle began his teaching career in Briarcliff the same year that this year’s graduates entered high school.
“What you have endured in your quest to reach this day deserves the utmost praise and recognition,” he said. “You are not these clichés so often attached to millennials today.”
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