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Carle Place holds 56th annual graduation ceremony

Students smile graduate from Carle Place High School

Students smile graduate from Carle Place High School on Saturday. (June 23, 2012) Credit: Michael Cusanelli

Brenda Chavez and her classmates buzzed excitedly Saturday afternoon as the 123 members of Carle Place High School’s Class of 2012 prepared to graduate.

“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” said Chavez, 18. “I feel like I’m on cloud nine right now.”

For many members of the Class of 2012, the end of their high school career also marks the end of 13 years of hometown classmates, friends and faculty members.

“I feel like this isn’t real,” said Michelle Bustamante, 19, who will be attending Nassau Community College in the fall. “We grew up with all these people.”

School administrators encouraged the students to be open to new learning experiences as they begin their college careers.

“Get out of your comfort zone. Take chances,” said school board president Peter E. Fitzgerald. “Don’t be afraid to say yes to new opportunities and new friends.”

Salutatorian Daniel Salerno also told his classmates to be bold and take advantage of their individual merits.

“We all have gifts and talents,” said Salerno, who graduated with a 101.9 GPA. “It doesn’t matter what they are. It’s what we do with them that counts.”

During her farewell address, valedictorian Leanne Iannucci reminded her classmates that the path ahead of them may not always be easy.

“We need to fail before we reach our true potential,” she said. “Before we know how high we can fly, we need to know how far we can fall.”

At the end of the ceremony, students hugged faculty members, family, and each other, as they said farewell to the school they had attended since 7th grade.

“It’s the start of a new chapter for us,” said Dennis Amaya, 18, who will be attending Nassau Community College in the fall to study music.

School officials also prepared to say goodbye to the students they had grown to know during the past six years.

“It’s an outstanding class,” said Superintendent David Flatley. “”They’re a credit to our community.”

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