Wantagh grads ready for life's next chapter


Wantagh High School’s Lawrence Field was filled with pride and excitement as 307 graduates celebrated a long-awaited milestone: the district’s 59th annual commencement exercises on June 26.

The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by Michael Paradiso, Valerie Powell and Samantha Roemer, and a flag salute led by General Organization Co-presidents Arianna Caradonna and Avery Kratzer. Graduates and drum majors Jaclyn Onufrey and Bridget Wiffler were then invited to conduct the high school band for the last time in the playing of the national anthem.

Principal Carolyn Breivogel said that the seniors were well prepared to move on to their adult lives. “You have all added to the rich history of students who have marched through the halls of Wantagh High School,” she said.

Superintendent Maureen Goldberg advised graduates to cherish their families as well as the friends they made in high school, and continue to give to those less fortunate.

Board of Education President Michael Soethout described the class of 2014 as “a force to be reckoned with” and a class that had embraced the ideals of Wantagh. “They have brought Wantagh to new heights with their accomplishments,” he said.

Senior class co-presidents Andrew Bloniarz and Courtney Getty were among the speakers, and salutatorian Kenneth Peluso said that until now, he and his fellow students’ parents had, for the most part, determined their futures. He urged his peers to be willing to adapt when shaping their own lives. “Your thought processes optimize your lives,” he said.

Valedictorian Alyssa Kelly told the graduates that we are often not aware of the impact we have on someone else’s life. “Think in terms of today,” she said. “Know the day-to-day impact you have on the lives around you.”

Then, one by one, the graduates were called to the podium to receive their diplomas and become the district’s newest alumni.