KATONAH, N.Y. – The high school careers of 323 seniors came to an end on a sweltering Thursday afternoon as Fox Lane High School’s class of 2012 received diplomas at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.
Dressed in red and white caps and gowns, the students marched down the aisle under the canopy of Caramoor's outdoor Venetian theater as the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance” played.
Fox Lane's senior choir, directed by Edward Reisert, sang Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to introduce the ceremonies.
Despite the heat, graduates, family and friends applauded enthusiastically as they listened to students, teachers and administrators share words of wisdom and encouragement with the class.
Principal Joel Adelberg urged students to look for teachable moments in everyday life. Physics teacher Gerald Ludwig, whom students elected as this year's faculty speaker, encouraged the class of 2012 to follow their dreams from the moment they dream them, to listen to others and to take heart in the future.
“Over the past eight years your parents, grandparents, families, friends, teachers and coaches have helped you along the way. Today marks the day when you begin to take your first steps on your own,” Ludwig said.
“I know that many of you may be feeling nervous thinking about your future, but I know you can do it.”
Superintendent Jere Hochman, board of education President Susan Elion Wollin, Adelberg and Fox Lane music teacher Michael Groarke handed out degrees to the graduates.
The student speakers included salutatorian Jordan Federbush, who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis in the fall, and Sabrina Paulino, whose speech was chosen by a panel of teachers as the winner of the school's annual graduation speech contest.
Also speaking on behalf of the class of 2012 was valedictorian Kurt Wasserman, who will be heading to Georgetown University this fall.
Wasserman used a superhero metaphor to illustrate his graduation message, citing specific storylines from the Batman, Spiderman and Superman comics.
"A superhero can be defined as someone who overcomes obstacles and uses super abilities,” he said.
"On the surface we may be Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker, but inside,” he said, there is a kind of superhero strength that has allowed the graduates to overcome the pressures of high school and make it to this day.
“I would like to thank the entire class of 2012," he said, "the Justice League that I will never forget.”