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Hudson Valley Press

July 2nd, 2014

Beacon’s Commencement Ceremony

Beacon High School graduates from last Saturday's commencement include from left; Fatmata Kaikai. Aaliyah Bowman, and Ninwaree Saphapbodee.

WAPPINGERS FALLS - Fatmata Kaikai’s high school diploma did not come easily; but last Saturday morning made it all worth while.

Kaikai was one of 230 Beacon High School graduates who took part in the schools’ Commencement

Sporting a huge smile just prior to entering Dutchess Stadium, Kaikai spoke of the obstacles she faced. After making the move to Beacon from Maryland in December of her senior year, Kaikai was confronted with an unknown quantity: passing an assortment of Regent’s Exams. Although familiar with state testing requirements from her native Maryland, Kaikai walked unfamiliar terrain when dealing with the arduous task of having to pass several Regents’ in a short time frame. Before long, her challenge was compounded when she became "very sick" and was hospitalized with a hyperthyroid condition, forced to miss school and be home instructed for a lengthy period. Despite the script that unfolded her senior year, the dedicated and focused Kaikai prevailed, passing all of her Regents Exams and now headed to Dutchess County Community College in the fall.

"Today is an honorable moment, because it shows through any obstacles I can overcome," said a beaming Kaikai. "All this taught me I can do anything."

Kaikai is taking that positive enthusiasm to DCCC. She will declare a double major: a R.N. for Maternity as well as Psychology.

Like Kaikai many of the other BHS graduates from the class of 2014 will be pusuing high education. In fact, the list of colleges where they are headed tallies 66. Others have already secured employment in their chosen fields and will immediately pursue full-time employment.

Regardless of where their futures take them, the Class of 2014 was provided with some closing wisdom from their Principal, Dr. Joannes Sieverding. Alluding to a conference he recently attended where one of the Keynote Speakers was the legendary Bill Cosby, Sieverding reminded his 230 charges of the fleeting nature of most friendships, especially ones made in youth. With that reality in mind, he proceeded to stress a pivotal point.

"The constant in your life are your parents, who love you unconditionally," said Sieverding. "Don’t be afraid to give them a hug, even in front of your friends."

Each of the three student speakers, Britni Grohosky(Salutatorian), Adele Antalek (Valedictorian) and Whitney Bentley (Class President), expressed gratitude for that special parent-child bond. After citing her parents as "the primary reason" she was standing in front of everyone speaking, Antalek offered some guiding principles to her peers.

"Even though it might be hard to embrace failure, it sometimes needs to be done, to learn and grow," said Antalek. "Life is out there waiting; don’t be afraid to experience it."

Antalek’s classmate, Bentley, focused her words on the different kinds of graduation speeches that exist. Along the way, she sprinkled her speech with a need for each graduate to go his/her separate way, growing, as well as the necessity of always having fun. Before exiting the stage, she also wanted to affirm something else to each one of her classmates.

"I feel confident in saying to the Class of 2014 one final thing," said Bentley. "Just know: some of the best days of your life have not happened yet."

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