Decked in black and gold regalia, St. Anthony’s High School salutatorian Michael Cox Jr. stood before his classmates and reminded them not to worry about the future — and, jokingly, to kindly stop texting during his speech.
St. Anthony’s High School celebrated its 79th annual graduation ceremony on Saturday morning in South Huntington, where the 596 members of the class of 2013 became alumni in front of thousands of cheering parents, family members and friends.
“It’s a bigger class than most schools but you knew everyone,” said Nick Koshonsky, 18, of Kings Park. “It was a great time.”
The other speakers stressed the importance of family and religion in helping to keep the St. Anthony’s community united after they part ways for college. In his speech, school principal Brother Gary Cregan urged the graduates to make religion the cornerstone of their lives.
“The kids are just phenomenal,” said Brother Robert Gabriel, dean of faculty and director of studies at St. Anthony’s. “They have so much going for them in their futures.”
St. Anthony’s High School was founded in 1933 by Franciscan Brothers and teaches students based off Roman Catholic beliefs.
Nearly 93 percent of this year’s graduates are headed to a two- or four-year college or preparatory school in September, including NYU, Yale University, Brown University, and Princeton University, according to school.
After throwing their caps in the air on the football field, students posed with their families and said goodbye to classmates and friends as they prepared for college. But many of them were confident that even though they might be separating for now, this was not the end of their time together.
“I’m gonna miss my friends and the whole family atmosphere,” said Marielle Pavek, 18, of Ronkonkoma. “This is a tight community. We’ll remember each other forever.”