Commack High School Class of 2012 graduates exit the football...

Commack High School Class of 2012 graduates exit the football field after the graduation ceremony. (June 24, 2012) Credit: Arielle Dollinger

Commack High School Principal Catherine D. Nolan recited a long list of statistics about the Class of 2012 during Sunday’s commencement.

The senior class graduated 99.49 percent of its students.

Regents Diplomas were awarded to 97.97 percent of the graduates.

Advanced Regents Diplomas were awarded to 469 students.

Advanced Regents Diplomas with honors were awarded to 146 of the students.

There are 132 International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates in the class.

Some will pursue technical schools and the armed forces, while 97.46 percent of the graduates are college-bound.

Collectively, the class has been offered $27 million in scholarship money.

But Nolan is proud not of the statistics alone, but of the students -- her "borrowed children," as she calls them. She gave the 591 students the same advice that she gave to her own three children upon their graduations.

"Know who you are," Nolan told the graduates. "Know what you stand for. Know what you are willing to defend."

Nolan also offered some perspective to her "other 591 children" as each go their separate ways.

"Anything less than your best is unacceptable," she said. "The man or woman to please at the end of the day is the person in the mirror."

Valedictorian Andrew F. Shapiro and salutatorian Emma K. Lecarie spoke at the ceremony, as did class president Arielle Glick, who presented the class gift -- a $10,000 donation which will fund a lighting system upgrade for the school's auditorium.

Shapiro spoke of the idea of success, and of the importance of reflecting on what one has learned.

"Success is about living your life, achieving your own goals, yet still setting aside time to be a good person," Shapiro said.

The graduation featured performances by the Commack High School ICA Chamber Choir, as well as sign language interpretations by Alexa Johnson, Rachel T. Kuhl and Heather L. Rera. Hayley M. Zeidman served as an interpreter during the singing of the National Anthem.

Nolan also asked the crowd to take a moment of silence for three students from the Class of 2012 who died -- Taylor Cavaliere, William Grieco and Joseph Marino -- and were awarded diplomas posthumously.

Board of education president Mary Jo Masciello also addressed the graduates, congratulating them and offering them her own advice.

Quoting Henry Ford, Masciello told the students, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."

Masciello, a mother of four Commack High School alumni, also reinforced the spirit of the day.

“Always remember you will forever be the sons and daughters of Commack,” she said.

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