Herricks High School graduates throw their caps to celebrate the official end of high school. (Photos courtesy Herricks Public Schools)

Herricks Students Graduate

BY Erica Schwartz

The Herricks High School senior class has graduated, joining Roslyn High School and Henry Viscardi School’s Class of 2024 graduates who graduated last week.

Joan Keegan, Principal of Herricks High School led the June 25, 2024 ceremony. Senior Madilyn Silverman led the audience in singing the National Anthem after the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, led by seniors Ava Lorenzana and Camryn Larock.

The ceremony officially commenced with multiple members of the senior class welcoming the audience in their native language, an annual tradition the school holds to honor the district’s “diverse and culturally rich community,” as explained by Joan Keegan, Principal of Herricks High School. 

Nancy Feinstein, a member of the Board of Education, spoke on behalf of the rest of the Board of Education. She reflected on her own path in life to offer wisdom to the graduating class.

“Strive to leave a mark on the world that reflects your passion, and if you’re not sure what that is right now, don’t sweat it,” she said. “Not all who wander are lost. Some of us are just taking the scenic route.”

 Stephanie Helgeson, President of the PTSA, spoke on behalf of the PTSA. Helgeson noted the challenges students had to overcome to achieve their diploma, including the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as all the individuals in their lives who offered support to make it possible.

“It is critical to acknowledge that success is not an individual pursuit,” she said. “Behind each graduate are countless people who have supported and guided them in their journey.”

Dr. Tony Sinanis, Superintendent of Herricks Schools, also spoke to the importance of students’ support systems in ensuring their success. 

Herricks High School salutatorian Dylan Lee (left) and valedictorian Devon Lee (right) smile, leading their peers onto the field for the graduation ceremony.

Devon Lee and Dylan Lee, twins, were Herricks High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. The Lee twins have previously been featured in NBC News 4 New York, ABC7 Los Angeles, The New York Post, and more for becoming valedictorian and salutatorian as twin brothers.

Instead of delivering separate valedictorian and salutatorian speeches, the twins delivered one joint speech, standing side-by-side. The brothers exchanged a fist-bump before beginning their dual speech.

“While people often expect valedictorian and salutatorian speeches to be something eye-opening and monumental with elaborate extended metaphors and long words, we have none of that. We are the same as all of you: confused, vulnerable high schoolers doing the best we can with no idea what to expect in the future,” Dylan quipped, eliciting chuckles from the audience.

The Lee twins’ older sister had been Herricks High School’s valedictorian the previous year. In the fall, Dylan will attend Yale University to study biomedical engineering, and Devon will attend Cornell University to study computer science.

Following the joint valedictorian and salutatorian speech, seniors Rebecca Bover and Benjamin Hogan introduced the guest speaker, Karen Hughes, Director of Science and Technology for Herricks Public Schools. Retiring after 36 years of teaching, Hughes drew comparisons between her experience over the past year preparing for her future with that of the graduating seniors.

In between the two songs, Jocelyn Chiu, the president of the Class of 2024 Student Government Executive Board, addressed the crowd. Chiu spoke highly about her classmates’ conviction, determination, and talents. After Chiu’s speech, the air filled with confetti and balloons as students received their diplomas.

Keegan took the stage to address the seniors one last time. She offered some final words of advice and encouragement.

“Class of 2024, be strong. Be fearless. Continue to be beautiful, and believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you,” she said.

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