Greetings - PTSA Vice President Christina Merendino
Good Evening. My name is Christina Merendino and as a former Hauppauge High School graduate myself and your Vice President, I am honored to represent the PTSA on behalf of your current President Wendy Cavanaugh, who is unable to be here tonight.
The “P” in PTSA stands for parents, so I’d like to address all of you first. This is a proud moment. I know this because I have sat where all of you are right now. I’m sure you’d agree that these last four years have come and gone in a blink of an eye.
Your children sit before us now as young adults ready to spread their wings. For you as parents, this will be challenging and so very bittersweet, but when you watch them take off and begin to soar, guess what, it means you have done your job. And you’ve done it well. I don’t mean to dismiss the past by pushing you into the future, but just know they will simply need you in a different way going forward. Part of my job as PTSA Vice President is to advocate for all children. I would encourage you now to continue to praise their accomplishments both big and small. Guide them through difficult times. Support them in their choices. And, most of all, cherish every moment in this new phase of their lives.
The “T” in PTSA stands for teachers, of which you have had many over the last four years. They have offered you instruments to inform you, strategies of critical thinking, and contact with fresh ideas that have helped to shape your life and build a foundation upon which you stand today. The path that they have chosen in life was broadening young minds like your own. For that, we should all be grateful.
The “S” in PTSA stands for students, our guests of honor. Although today marks the end of so many things, this ceremony is called commencement. To commence is to begin. To start something new. To launch a career. To forge into unknown territory. Today marks the beginning of your future. Only you can decide what that future holds. By now, most of you have your plans in place, so as you begin your journey, my hope is that you will remember what I am about to say to you now. The only limits in life are the ones that you make. So, believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable. Remind yourself once in a while that it is OK not to be perfect, because mistakes are actually proof that you are trying. Accept credit when you deserve it but, be humble when you receive it. Fight for what you believe in but, be fair and just in doing so. Giving up doesn’t always mean you are weak. Sometime it just means that you are strong enough to let go. Never tell yourself, “I just can’t do that.” Instead, say to yourself, “I just can’t do that, yet.” Be careful with your words. They can only be forgiven, but never forgotten. And, most importantly, know that you were given this life because you are strong enough to live it. So, listen to your heart. Follow your dreams and do whatever it takes to find your happiness. Before I conclude, I would like to take a moment to thank Ms. O’Connor, Ms. Ferrara, Mr. Caulin, Mr. Wiekhorst, the high school faculty and staff as well as all the parents that have supported the efforts of the PTSA over the last year. We are truly grateful that you allow us to come in here and do what we do to enhance the educational experience of your students.
And now, on behalf of the Hauppauge High School PTSA, I would like to offer our best wishes and congratulations to the Class of 2018.
Good luck graduates.
The world is waiting for you.