PCHS Graduation 2019
Class of 2019 is on their way!
The Port Chester High School Class of 2019 is on its way to whatever the future may hold following the 135th commencement ceremony held on June 27.
Family and friends gathered at the Flag Pole Plaza on the east side of the school to celebrate. Students processed in to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance,” taking seats in front of the building’s steps in the shadow of the famed Tamarack Tower.
The location was new as construction disrupted the traditional celebratory site on the football field. Students in the Class of 2019 had petitioned school administrators to keep the ceremony on campus and were successful in their campaign.
The school awarded 292 diplomas in a ceremony filled with encouraging words from speakers, and cheers and applause from family and friends.
Superintendent Edward Kliszus reminded graduates of the many memories they shared during their four years at PCHS.
Among them were College Decision Day, warming their hands around the annual bonfire during homecoming, and feeling a sense of pride when the football team won its first league championship in 15 years.
Salutatorian George Tsoukalas admitted he could not believe four years of high school were done.
“I remember my first day of high school, meeting new people, figuring out where I was, talking to people I hadn’t seen over the summer,” he said.
“I’ve learned a lot since that first day,” he continued. “I don’t know how you feel about it. On the one hand I am glad to start a new chapter in my life. But on the other, I am going to miss all of my experiences with you, all you guys, here at Port Chester High School.”
Valedictorian Jacinta Olonilua used her time at the podium to assure her classmates they are more than ready to meet whatever the future may bring.
“All of us are smart, generous, helpful and caring,” she said. “Now we just have to put these strengths and characteristics to use.”
She reminded the class how they have already accomplished so much — from the marching band winning awards to the first student at PCHS who received an Air Force award for science research. There are those in her class, she said, who have already started their own business and have achieved great athletic feats. The class includes musicians, dancers, artists and more.
“Not convinced? Look around you,” Jacinta said.
“And so I challenge our class, including myself, to this proposal: Take all that we have learned so far in our lives from our family, our friends and our community here at Port Chester High School and apply it in an effective way to leave an impact on society. Don’t just do your job. Go above and beyond your duties the same way you went the extra mile during your high school career,” she encouraged.
The evening was an especially emotional one for Deputy Superintendent Joseph Durney. He was at the ceremony not only as an administrator, but also as the father of a graduate.
Mr. Durney delivered the keynote address.
He encouraged the graduates to follow the long revered concept of “know thyself.”
“So what is this advice meant to suggest?” Mr. Durney asked. “Why has it stood the test of time? One reason this advice is so time-honored and well-respected, it encourages you to reflect on who you have been in the past, who you are today and what role you will have in the future.”
“In short,” Mr. Durney said. “My hope for each and every one of you is that you will come to understand and actualize your potential.”
Following the advice and encouragement of their classmates and school leaders, it was the moment the graduates had all been waiting for.
One by one they stepped under the portico and received their diploma.
When each member of the Class of 2019 had received their degree, they jubilantly tossed their caps in the air, signaling the official end of their high school career.