Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS

Dodd Graduates Set Sights on FHS Photo
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The high school’s Class of 2021 is set to begin freshman year in the fall following its graduation from Dodd. The ceremony, which took place at Atkinson, included families, administrators, members of the board of education and staff members celebrating students’ past two years of hard work and commitment to success. Following a welcome by Principal Johane Ligondé, Select Chorus Director Sherill Spruill led her group through a remarkable rendition of the national anthem.

Student addresses were delivered by Aaliyah Daniels and Allesandro Benitez Pineda, who recognized faculty members who they said were instrumental in their progress and journey at Dodd. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Board President Michael Pomerico then spoke to the graduates about the importance of continuing their hard work through high school and beyond, and to begin thinking about where they would like to be in the future.

“There’s an ancient proverb: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’” said Dr. Kuncham. “You are about to take that important step. The choices you make are going to impact your path. I urge you to push yourselves, to do your very best, and give all you can to your studies, as well as to any clubs, arts or sports that you are interested in. Remember that it is the effort you put into something and the repeated practice that move you to the next level. Set your goals high and choose to reach them.”

“It’s not going to be easy; there will be setbacks, but start thinking now about where you want to be in four years when you’re graduating high school,” said Pomerico. “You cannot wait. What opportunities do you want to take advantage of? What extracurricular activities do you want to join? What classes do you want to take? Take advantage of all that awaits you.” Pomerico also shared the inspiring story of Freeport High School Class of 2017 graduate Ismary Jimenez, who years ago did not speak any English but learned the language, graduated sixth in her class and will be attending Princeton University in the fall. “I would love to be here in four years talking about someone sitting here right now and about the success you have achieved,” Pomerico said.

Following a beautiful rendition of “I Believe” by the Select Chorus, Ligondé spoke about how crucial it is for students to keep their sights set on their goals and to never let any setbacks deter them from their will to conquer them. She referenced the career and motivation of National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James as an embodiment of that advice.

“Our commitment is to ensure that every child who walks through the doors of Dodd walks out a winner,” Ligondé said. “In life, every winner needs two types of goals: short-term goals and a long-term ultimate goal. So I ask you first, what is your ultimate goal in life? Really think about it. LeBron James’ ultimate goal was to win the NBA championship. He achieved this goal, and still strives to be a champion after winning three. Even after this year’s loss, he didn’t give up. What would you ask yourself if you were him? Would you quit? Would you give your 100 percent? Did you use all your resources? These are the questions that you should ask yourself every day at the high school.”
Assistant Principal Paulette Acquavito then spoke about the heart and character of the graduating class as a prelude to the presentation of the graduates by eighth-grade homeroom teachers. Students’ names were individually announced, and each proudly rose from their seat to be recognized.

Graduation ensemble directors Candice Mordhorst and Adam Rubin led the performance of “Sine Nomine” during the recessional, and the new Dodd graduates walked off the Atkinson field and into the horizons of their promising futures.