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Glen Cove High School seniors celebrate their graduation

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It was a challenging year, but the Glen Cove High School class of 2021 made it through, and celebrated at a graduation ceremony on the school’s football field last Friday evening.

Not long after it began, graduate Cassandra Hill sang Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” accompanied by choral director Ed Norris on keyboard.

Valedictorian Alan Gansky, Salutatorian Owen Yates, Honorarian Phillip Wlodarczyk and class President Jennifer Heman shared inspirational messages with their classmates and encouraged them to be proud of having overcome obstacles together.

“Please do what makes you happy,” Heman told her fellow graduates. “Don’t go through life wishing for things to get better, when I know you all have the ability to succeed. It has been a privilege going to school with you, and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish.”

Gansky said that his high school years went by much faster than he expected, and noted how endings are always difficult. “But endings are inevitable,” he said. “Today we say goodbye to everything that was familiar to us, everything that was comfortable. But . . . we must continue, we must move on, and we must say hello to a new adventure.”

“The class of 2021 has been challenged in ways no one could ever have imagined,” district Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna said. “This group of students embody the character and achievement for which this community is known.

“What you have all collectively had to endure,” Rianna told the graduates, “will set you apart from future generations by preparing you for life’s uncertainty.”

The seniors walked across the stage and were presented with their diplomas, giving family and friends a chance to take photos. Spirits were high and smiles were bright as students were grateful to take part in a traditional in-person ceremony.

“These students raised the bar in ways beyond just academics,” Glen Cove High Principal Antonio Santana said. “They have set a new standard of excellence for generations to come. I think I speak for the entire community when I say that we look forward to following the accomplishments you all achieve in your future endeavors.”