Valley Stream Central graduates 339 'chicken wings'

The 339 members of Valley Stream Central High The 339 members of Valley Stream Central High School's Class of 2013 take their places on stage as their commencement ceremony begins. (June 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Tara Conry

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When Rohan Motwani asked friends for help in writing his salutatory address, they told him to wing it. The Valley Stream Central High School graduate took their advice and delivered a commencement speech Wednesday night that compared the 339 members of the Class of 2013 to chicken wings.

“The main reason each wing is unique is because of the marinade — the upbringing and influence of parents, guardians, idols and even teachers,” he said to the audience of friends, family and fellow graduates gathered inside the Tilles Center on Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus in Brookville.

“The way Central has helped marinade us has been nothing short of phenomenal. I suggest the chef’s over there keep their recipe a secret.”

Motwani, who is bound for Cornell University in upstate Ithaca to study finance, then warned his classmates that they were about to head into the “fryer,” the “real world.”

“Now is the time to take a chance and throw on that spicy sauce,” he said. “Live your life to the fullest . . . and leave no meat on the bones.”

Keeping with Motwani’s theme, class president Dipika Walia encouraged her peers to “build better wings” and “fly into the unknown,” embracing the unexpected.

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She added: “Who knows where our wings will take us, and that’s the beauty of it all.”

Valedictorian Chung Wei Shen congratulated his classmates on taking one step forward to becoming tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, officers, technicians, engineers and teachers.

“It’s honestly reassuring to know that the future of our society lays in the hands of some of the most brilliant of minds, talented artists and motivated leaders that are behind me at this moment,” he said.

Breanna Ross, 17, hopes to be one of those future doctors. Bound for Delaware State University to study biology, Ross said she’s wanted to be a doctor since she was 4 years old.

“I have a lot of nurses in my family, but I think I would be the first doctor,” she said.

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Ross and her fellow graduates were the 87th class to graduate from Valley Stream Central High School, but the first to celebrate their commencement ceremony at the Tilles Center. In years past, the graduation had been held either outdoors, where Mother Nature often threatened to dampen the festivities, or inside a small gym at one of the district’s middle schools.

Ross said it was a treat for her class to experience graduation on a college campus, especially after superstorm Sandy caused some senior activities, including an overnight trip, to be canceled.

Said Ross: “Even though a lot was taken, we got a lot back.”

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