Billy Joel will return to his hometown Saturday to help celebrate Hicksville High School’s graduation ceremony, 50 years after his own scheduled commencement.
Joel, 68 — who had fallen shy one English credit and returned in 1992 to receive a diploma — will be among the speakers at the 10 a.m. ceremony on the school’s athletic field, alongside the principal, school superintendent and others. Between 400 and 416 graduating seniors are expected to attend. Students’ families receive five tickets each and may enter early, with gates opening at 9:30 a.m. for the rest of the community.
“We’re hoping for good weather, but there seems a very good likelihood of rain,” a school spokeswoman told Newsday. In that event, “It will be in our gymnasium. If that’s the case, it’ll be the second time Joel has attended graduation in the gymnasium.”
At the 1992 ceremony, the hitmaker joked to the audience, “Well, here I am, Mom. I’m actually going to get my high school diploma, and it’s only 25 years after everyone else got theirs. But Mom, don’t worry. I can finally pull myself out of this dead-end job I have and start working on a career with a real future.”
Joel has not commented on social media, where on Thursday he paid his respects to longtime Mets groundskeeper Pete Flynn, who died Wednesday at age 79.
A six-time Grammy Award-winner and an inductee into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, Joel postponed his June 6 concert at Madison Square Garden because of a viral infection but has since recovered. He played Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Saturday, and has 15 dates through the rest of the year, including Garden shows on July 5, Aug. 21, Sept. 30, Oct. 20, Nov. 18 and Dec. 20. The December show is the makeup date for the postponed concert. Joel’s upcoming Cleveland, Boston and Philadelphia stadium shows are sold out.