Hampton Bays Graduates Class of 2010


It was an exciting and emotional day in the hamlet of Hampton Bays on Saturday, June 26, as another class of Hampton Bays seniors turned their tassels and became alumni during the annual High School Commencement Exercises.

It was a day of bittersweet celebration for students, family and faculty, especially for District Superintendent Joanne Loewenthal, who participated in her last graduation ceremony before retiring. “This is the end of high school, but all of you know that today is a beginning,” she told the Class of 2010, adding that she was “graduating” with them as she handed the symbolic mace over to incoming District Superintendent Lars Clemensen. “Your handprints will be on my heart.”

Upon accepting his new role, Mr. Clemensen said, “I’m struck by the importance of this day. I accept this mace humbly, and with deep gratitude to Joanne Loewenthal.”

Commencement Speaker Peter Cunningham, the Assistant Secretary of Education for the United States Department of Education, received a standing ovation for his stirring, personal and sometimes funny speech about finding passion in life. “President Obama wants to have the most educated workforce by the end of this decade. Promise yourselves that you won’t give up, I know you can make it,” he said. “You have to find something you’re passionate about.” He then joked that he hoped someone in the graduating class was passionate about finding a way to plug an oil leak.   

Other speakers, who also received standing ovations at the ceremony, included 2010 Class President Monica O’Connor, Salutatorian Marcus Shams and Valedictorian Maraya Ferreira.

Ms. O’Connor told her fellow graduates, “We have to take the responsibility to make the most of our lives.” She then thanked everyone for “the most exciting, hilarious and interesting four years of hell of my life.”

Mr. Shams, who plans to be a doctor, kept the crowd laughing throughout his speech. “I’d like to thank the teachers for the important things like teaching us how to sleep sitting up and how to ace a report even though we’ve never read the book,” he joked. “Now I’m going to hand the mic back to ‘the man, AKA big brother,’” he said, referring to High School Principal Chris Richardt.
Ms. Ferreira, who wants to be a high school physical education teacher, quipped, “How am I going to follow that?” as she followed Mr. Shams’s crowd-pleasing talk. The message of her talk was inspirational. “Above all, be good and love others as you love yourself,” she said.

After discussing how many students will be preparing for life, some for jobs that have not yet even been created, Mr. Richardt presented the Class of 2010 with these final words, “Have fun; life is meant to be enjoyed.”

Click here to see more photos of the High School Graduation