Hats off: Bellmore-Merrick celebrates Class of 2022


On a cloudy Sunday, the fields of Sanford H. Calhoun, John F. Kennedy, and Wellington C. Mepham High School were dotted with crowds of families and friends, and respectively the colors blue, green and maroon to celebrate the Bellmore-Merrick graduating classes of 2022.

Held in three ceremonies on June 12, one for each school, the weather held out and the classes heard from their valedictorians and salutatorians — Tina Cheng and Kaitlin Bondi of Calhoun, Christopher Prainito and Michelle Brown of Kennedy and Helena Fu and Justin Dioguardi of Mepham.

Cheng reflected on goals and striving for perfection.

“I hope that each of us can vow to ourselves that in the next few years, we will focus on our own happiness and accept that it is okay if we don’t live up to people’s expectations,” she said.

Bondi talked about the “beauty of unpredictability.”

“We do not possess the ability to know the future - yet – so acknowledging and appreciating life’s unpredictability is our next best option,” she said. “In this sense, do not dwell too heavily on what could have been or what will be. Relinquish the false sense of control we all think we have over our lives.”

Fu told classmates not to think of graduation as conclusion, but rather a continuation.

“Rather than being a timeline that we can easily follow, life takes on many different turns,” she said. “Yet our foundations are composed of teachers, administrators, coaches and role models who have taught us how to think for ourselves. You have helped us to foster the growth of the foundation that allows us to branch out into the future.”

- Jordan Vallone