106 graduate from McGann-Mercy HS in Riverhead

The graduates of McGann-Mercy High School stand in

The graduates of McGann-Mercy High School stand in front of their school in Riverhead before the commencement ceremony. (June 6, 2012) (Credit: Alexi Knock)

Days after closing their textbooks for the last time, 14 seniors on the CSI team at McGann-Mercy High School came back to class for several days of competition preparation.

On Monday, the team of almost-graduates took home first place in the Forensics World CSI Challenge at Stony Brook University, which included 34 high schools from the tri-state area.

“We’ve all been friends for most of high school so it just made it fun to work together on a team one last time right before we graduate,” said Erica Blanco, 18, a student on the CSI team.

On June 6, the CSI team joined 92 other graduates at their high school in Riverhead to accept their diplomas at their graduation ceremony.

Elizabeth Talamo, salutatorian of her class, addressed her fellow graduates from the podium and said the students of McGann-Mercy High School shouldn’t be afraid to be outwardly proud of their accomplishments.

“Sometimes we’re going to need to toot our own horns in order to live up to our fullest potential,” said Talamo, who will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall. “Know your greatest strengths so you can step out into the light and shine.”

Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy spoke of how happy he was with the class of 2012, which earned $14.3 million in college scholarships.

“You have completed the race and have done so with such enthusiasm,” said Murphy. “Now you can bring this Church’s and this school’s community throughout the world.”

Valedictorian Melissa Wilson led her fellow students in the turning of the tassels ceremony, and told students that it’s OK to change paths in life.

“Even if your dreams change, you can start again,” said Wilson, who will be attending the Suffolk County Community College honors program in the fall. “Think of these times as the best in your life.”

High school principal Carl Semmler said that he will greatly miss the students who will soon go off to college.

“This ceremony doesn’t make you who you are, it just celebrates who you’ve become,” said Semmler. “We’ll miss your smiling faces.”

The CSI team of McGann-Mercy High School represents the togetherness that the rest of the school enjoys, said Larissa Froeschl, forensic science teacher and coach of the CSI team.

Said Froeschl, “They just love working together and I know they’ll miss it.”

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