POUGHKEEPSIE – For the first time in more than 30 years, Poughkeepsie High School held its graduation outdoors on the school’s football field.
To many, last Friday’s outdoor graduation was a sign that the 193 graduates were the beginning of something new. After all, this was a year that students saw a new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Nicole Williams. It also brought them a new principal in Mrs. Phee Simpson.
Principal Simpson advised the graduates on the real world they were about to enter and ensured them that they were prepared, as she wished them all the best.
U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney, challenged the graduates to make a difference in the world. "We need the fresh ideas you are going to bring to this world," he said.
It was Maloney who nominated Salutatorian Matthew Anderson to the United States Military Academy at West Point. The two met briefly prior to graduation, which Anderson said was exciting. "Service academies like the U.S. Military Academy at West Point provide a top notch education while preparing young men and women for leadership roles in our nation’s armed forces," Maloney stated. Anderson will arrive for Reception Day at West Point on July 2.
During his Salutatory Address, Anderson took the time to acknowledge the many people along the way who helped him and his fellow graduates. They included parents, teachers and many others. However, "We can take credit for graduating," he said. "Today is our day."
Change - that was the word Valedictorian Nora Abdelrahman used to describe the last four years of high school. With the biggest changes saved for their senior year. Like a new administration, superintendent, and new counselors.
Despite those changes, Abdelrahman called the year a blessing. "We have one of the largest graduating classes in years," she pointed out.
Abdelrahman, who is headed to Vassar College in the fall, called the graduating class of 2014’s passage thru high school "a test for the journey we are about to have in the real world."
"We learned to face our fears, dealing with change and leaving our comfort zone are all stepping stones for our true transformation into adulthood," she said.
The emotional valedictorian began to cry during her speech saying, "I’m so heartbroken to leave." But she was quickly lifted up by the PHS community who responded loudly with thunderous and supportive applause.
"I know I’m leaving all my amazing friends and memories of PHS. Yet I’m eager to start my next chapter in life. We are all going to miss PHS."