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With proud parents, siblings, friends, teachers, administrators and members of the Board of Education in attendance, the members of the Class of 2019 received their diplomas during the annual commencement exercises on June 28.

The sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by student-musicians under the baton of Dr. Michael Caravello, filled the air as the proud students walked onto the high school lawn to be commended one final time for their successful high school careers.

Words of wisdom and congratulatory remarks on the accomplishments of the students were offered by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano and Principal Christine Austen. She spoke of the small acts of kindness that she noticed in her daily routine at the school, from students who assisted with prom tickets, to those who guided younger peers with personal issues, to a helping a peer’s family member who had an illness.

“Your compassion and support for one another and the underclassmen is admirable, and I want to thank each one of you for making the high school a better place,” she said. She commended them for their grit, courage and determination and encouraged them to remember to believe in themselves, and not to forget to ask for help.

This year’s parent-speaker, Tara Higgins, continued to set a tone of pride for all the graduates. Valedictorian Annalisa Welinder and salutatorian Ava Schully also addressed their fellow classmates with gratitude for family and fond memories of growing up in the close-knit school community. Their many high school achievements will lead them to post-high school studies at Stanford University and Brown University, respectively.

Mrs. Austen then called each student to the podium and highlighted their high school careers and future plans. She was assisted by members of the Board of Education in handing out the diplomas. The students then stood and tossed their caps in the air in celebration of becoming the newest graduates of the high school.

From the entire Port Jefferson School District and community, congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2019.