On August 23, 2012, 136 Yonkers Public Schools summer seniors were poised in the back of the crowded Yonkers Middle/High School arena, eagerly awaiting the moment they would hear their names so they could step into the first moment of the rest of their lives: graduation.
As the ceremony music began, Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools Bernard P. Pierorazio walked down the aisle to the cheers of the graduates’ family members. Yonkers Board of Education President Paresh Patel and Trustees Nydia Perez and Dr. Nader Sayegh were also in attendance to greet and congratulate the newest members of the Class of 2012.
“A decision delayed is not a decision denied, and today is proof of that,” Superintendent Pierorazio said as he addressed the summer seniors. “Today is a great day. Today is the culmination of six long weeks of work, of struggle, of sacrifice. It wasn’t easy…but it has all been worth it because, today, you earn the title of graduate!”
Students’ families roared with pride as summer seniors--now officially summer graduates--were called to receive their diplomas. Although the summer graduates had been separated according to high school, they were connected by the shared lessons and experiences that had bound them together during their time in the District’s Secondary Summer School program.
“It feels so good to be done,” exclaimed Brenda Sanchez, who graduated from Riverside High School. Brenda explained that she had plans to attend the College of Westchester in the fall to earn credit toward her medical assistant certification. “I can’t wait to start my classes in the fall. It is scary, but I know I’ll be able to succeed!”
“To have been able to call my students into my office and tell them they were going to graduate, that everything they had struggled for over the past six weeks had been worth it, there was nothing like it. It was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling moments I have had as a principal,” said Steven Murphy, principal of Riverside High School.
These academic Olympians, who have earned the respect of their teachers and administrators, now set their sites on a new and more challenging goal: college. With graduation now behind them, the future is full of opportunity.