Address – Salutatorian Andrew Crecca
Hello. This is a message from the Hauppauge School District automated messenger. Your salutatorian, Andrew Crecca, will now be addressing the class of 2018. That might be the last time some of you hear that.
Before I begin, I want to show a video of my young self. While I play the video feel free to laugh, look away, or even gasp in shock. Enjoy.
My brother uploaded that to his YouTube page. We thought it would make us famous … it didn’t.
So, seven-year-old Andrew was wondering, “What is love?” Standing here today over a decade later, I can confirm that Hauppauge has taught me what love is.
I experienced love from my wonderful family. My Italian grandmother taught me loyalty and togetherness. My parents pushed me to be the best person I could be and, most importantly, packed the best bagged lunches ever. I hope I can be nearly as selfless as them in dedicating my life to supporting my children. My loving brother Michael is the epitome of a role model. While Mike may be the hippie musician of the family and me the straight-laced salutatorian, he has instilled in me key values, such as the importance of being caring, open minded, and passionate. We have all received love from our families and are grateful for their sacrifices. Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins of the class of 2018.
I have also experienced love from the faculty here in the Hauppauge school district. Our teachers, administrators, janitors, security guards, nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, and lunch ladies work tirelessly to help us achieve, developing personal relationships with students. Ms. Pincus is crazy. Oftentimes, she’s at the school from five in the morning until ten at night at rehearsal. This April I forgot my chemistry review notes in Ms. Heck’s room. Being the nerd, I was freaking out about studying for the AP test. So, after track practice I asked coach Maida for his keys so I could get the notes. Maida journeyed across the school with me to the classroom and helped me search. We failed. I texted Ms. Heck. A normal teacher would ignore the text. A good one would simply respond telling me where the notes were. Ms. Heck is no ordinary teacher. She decided to drive to the school during her break, find the notes, and cater them to my house. I don’t know if there is another school with teachers like Ms. Pincus, Mr. Maida, or Ms. Heck, who go the extra mile to help their students. Teachers and coaches, we’re all grateful for the love you have shown us and know that it is one of the primary reasons for our success in the classroom, on the stage, and on the sports field.
I have also experienced love from an extraordinary group of peers. This group never fails to amaze me. Thanks to the exceptional opportunities provided by the Hauppauge school district, this group includes dozens of AP Scholars, BOCES graduates, IB Diploma Candidates, All-County athletes, Teeny Award Winners, and All-State musicians. You are a class that excels in academics, athletics, and the fine and performing arts. Most importantly, however, this is a group of friends who provide endless love and support for one another. This class includes selfless students like Rob Podmore. Sorry for harassing you with endless facetime calls about AP Chem. Kevin Bie is the human embodiment of kindness. He’s one of those people that’s so nice, that when he gets angry it makes you really happy. His nostrils flare up and you’re like, go Kevin, get angry, you deserve it! And then there are those loyal friends like Kevin Wrobleski. If I robbed a bank Kevin would be right there with the escape car, no questions asked. Leaving these kids next year will be like ripping my soul into a million bite sized pieces. This class is a special group. I mean, do you think Rob Podmores grow on trees? They don’t. And there is no Kevin Bie tree either. You think the world is just crawling with Kevin Wrobleskis sprouting out of the ground. Show me that farm. You can’t, it doesn’t exist! All of the members of the class of 2018 have these kinds of loving, irreplaceable friends. I’m grateful for your love. This town should be very proud of the group of young men and women they have raised.
The point is, Hauppauge has answered my question. I have learned what love is. Love is family. Love is togetherness. Love is loyalty. Love is acceptance. Love is unconditional. Love is compassion. Love is putting others before yourself. Love is something that is more powerful than any other feeling, action, or challenge standing in its way.
Graduates, as you leave Hauppauge High School and head off to amazing places like college, the army, or the workforce, I have one challenge for you. Wherever life takes you, make sure to spread the love that you have experienced here in Hauppauge. Continue to exemplify the characteristics that make Hauppauge such a wonderful community. Be kind, honest, caring, supportive, and compassionate. Wherever you go and whatever you do, bring that same positive energy that made our high school experience so great and continue to be of service to others. Because in a world filled with so much hate and gun violence and poverty and racism and such a hostile political climate, there is only one way to overcome. Love. It’s such a simple solution but it can be used to solve the most complex problems. Love and respect allow us to see past each other’s differences and conquer even the largest, most intimidating quandaries together.
So, go out into the world and spread some love!
Thank you for being such an incredible group of peers to grow up with.
Good luck and God bless.