Class of 2022 Triumphed Over Adversity

Class of 2022 Triumphed Over Adversity

The 189 graduates of Wantagh High School’s Class of 2022 will be remembered for their many achievements, their perseverance in the face of adversity and, most importantly, their value. 

As the sun slowly made its descent behind the stage, the senior class was celebrated for the last time as a group during the graduation ceremony on June 24 on Wantagh’s turf field. The scoreboard was lit up with “2022.”

The graduates, in their black gowns with gold sashes, emerged from the doors of the north gymnasium as underclassmen in the band played “Pomp and Circumstance.” They made their way along the track to their seats, where they heard inspirational words from speakers at the midfield dais. Principal Dr. Paul Guzzone told them to live life with an absolute value approach. The former math teacher noted that absolute value is the distance from zero, and the number is always positive. 

For this class, their starting point is March 13, 2020, the last day of in-person instruction of their sophomore year. From there, Dr. Guzzone said, they learned many positive lessons like being flexible and finding other ways to connect with people.  

Superintendent John McNamara said that with the adversity this class faced, they are prepared for whatever life throws at them next. It will help them be the outside-of-the-box thinkers the world needs to solve today’s complex problems.

“When things get tough as an adult,” added Board of Education President Anthony Greco, “remember to look inside of yourselves for that same determination you found when you were in high school. We know it’s there, and this graduation ceremony is proof of that.”

Salutatorian Skyla Marchesi said that students in the Class of 2022 are a cohesive group that value each other’s different interests and skills. They succeeded academically and became stronger individuals because of the obstacles they overcame. 

“This chapter of our lives may be over,” she said, “but there are new experiences, successes and challenges ahead.”

Valedictorian Julianna Rose, reflecting on a short-lived experiment in seventh grade where she and her friends tried to learn a new word every day, promoted the value of lifelong learning. She cited some words that reflect the high school experience for the Class of 2022, like how the “tumultuous” times they lived through allowed them to become more “resilient.” Going forward, she encouraged her fellow graduates to embrace new experiences and accept the unfamiliar. 

Senior class Vice President Joseph Labo made sure to thank those who have supported the graduates, asking them all to give their “home base” – their families – a big round of applause.