At every graduation ceremony for Sewanhaka High School, principal Debra Lidowsky closes by reciting the lyrics to her favorite song, Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young.”
This year was the last time she would say, “May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam” to her graduating students, as she is retiring after 18 years as principal of Sewanhaka.
Her work with the Class of 2016 rounds out a 32-year career in the Sewanhaka Central High School district, and she made sure to celebrate all the successes this past Saturday during the commencement in the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Center at Hofstra University.
The Class of 2016 earned $17 million in college scholarship money, Lidowsky said, and the salutatorian, Sidney Saint-Hilaire, will be going to Yale in the fall.
“We’re just so happy all the time when they get these wonderful scholarships for college, and they get accepted into these great Ivy League schools,” she said.
Lidowsky began her career as a science teacher at Elmont Memorial High School, then became the chair of the department. Before coming to Sewanhaka, she served as an assistant principal at New Hyde Park Memorial High School for 10 years.
In her 18 years at Sewanhaka, she said enrollment and class offerings have increased, and its Career and Technical Education program has been updated.
“She has given Sewanhaka High School 18 years of service and has brought this school to excellence,” senior class president Christopher Melton said.
But now, Lidowsky said the time has come to spend more time with family and friends, and roam some roads of her own. She wants to do some traveling that she could not have done while being principal.
“That’s really the big plan,” she said.