Valedictorian Jennifer Wamsley, 28, from East Northport got her B.S....

Valedictorian Jennifer Wamsley, 28, from East Northport got her B.S. Education. Commencement for LIU-Riverhead campus was held at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center in Westhampton Beach. (May 8, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

CLASS OF 2012 LIU Riverhead Graduation, at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, Tuesday, May 8, 6-8 p.m.


Number of graduates:

108 total (17 bachelor's, 78 master's, and 13 graduate with advanced certificates)

Keynote speaker:

Roger Tilles, member of the NYS Board of Regents, former executive vice chairman of the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, and director of the Tilles Investment Companies. He told the graduates, comprised of Education and Homeland Security majors, that they must pursue their dreams despite reduction in state aid to schools, building closures, teacher layoffs, and the proposed elimination of kindergarten, prekindergarten and the arts.

"No preparation of our students for a career in this global workplace can take place where teachers are being used as scapegoats for all the evils of society," said Tilles. But he added, "Your hard work will have results, even if you don't see it right away. You can make the world a better place by being important in the life of a child."


Jennifer Marie Wamsley, 28, of East Northport, childhood education.

"I hope to inspire and influence the lives of our future leaders of America, with a teaching job on Long Island."

Wamsley will continue at LIU Riverhead for her masters in literacy.

-- Compiled by Debbie Tuma

Voices of the graduates:


Wayne Hutzel, 48, Massapequa, master's in homeland security management, and a sergeant with the Suffolk County Police Department, First precinct, West Babylon.

"After 9/11, I felt I wanted to do something to help the security of our country, so I found this to be an interesting new field. I hope to get a job in the Homeland Security field when I retire in 10 years."

Jeanne Kelley, 52, Mattituck, master's in homeland security

"After 25 years with Suffolk County National Bank in Riverhead, as their senior vice president and risk manager, I wanted to augment my risk management role at the bank. I hope this program creates a greater awareness of the importance of everybody's role in homeland security, and the privileges we are afforded."

Brendan Penn, 25, Coram, bachelor's in childhood education

"I hope to be an inspiration to children both inside and outside the classroom, and to be a positive African-American role model."

Alicia Schordine, 31, East Moriches, master's in childhood education

"I'd like to work in an environment that is supportive and nurturing of the child's talent, and I hope to inspire kids to be lifelong learners and see life as a beautiful adventure."

Natasha Woodall Quezada, 31, Southampton, bachelor's in education

"I hope to find a full-time job as a teacher on Long Island." She plans to start her master's in literacy at LIU Riverhead, with a special education component.