The 127 members of the Rye Neck High School Class of 2017 celebrated the completion of their high school experience when they took hold of their diplomas during their commencement ceremony on June 22.

The ceremony began with the school’s orchestra performing “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates proceeded into the ceremony to the applause of their friends and family. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro paid tribute to the students’ impressive accomplishments, which include 75 scholar-athletes, Eagle Scouts, Metro theater award winners, recognitions at the Science Olympiads, as well as a class who gave more than 20,000 hours of community service and earned $52,500 in local scholarships.

“Most of all, I will remember you as the class that had a special bond with each other and always made sure that everyone was included in every aspect of the high school experience,” Dr. Ferraro said. “Your actions supported the idea that when individual talents and interests are blended together the entire group benefits.”

She also encouraged them to follow their passions, be proactive individuals and embrace every opportunity that comes their way.

In his remarks, Interim Principal Scott Mosenthal thanked the graduates for their generosity and friendliness while he served as interim principal for the last six months.  

“The Class of 2017 is impressive by any possible measure – scholastically, artistically, athletically and service-wise,” he said. “This group of young people is articulate, intelligent, focused and compassionate.”

The graduates also heard from guest keynote speaker Isabel Richardson, a RNHS Class of 2007 graduate, as well as valedictorian Fraser Shaw, who reflected on his classmates’ accomplishments and experiences throughout high school; and salutatorian Emily Crook, who urged her peers to follow their passions and not to let anyone else define success for them.

“No matter where life takes us, if we put our minds to a task and put in the work, we can achieve great things,” Shaw said. “Class of 2017, I can see we are ready. High school is only the beginning of our lives’ successes. As we continue to push ourselves, as we continue to confront the world in front of us, we will begin to formulate the answers to the great questions that our generation faces.”

The ceremony ended with the traditional tossing of their caps before the students took their first steps as Rye Neck High School alumni.