Freeport Public Schools’ Board of Education, administrators, staff, family and friends gathered at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium for the 128th Freeport High School Commencement Ceremony on June 18. After more than a year of virtual, hybrid and in-person learning, the more than 500 seniors excitedly gathered for the first, full class assembly in more than a year to receive their diplomas and leave as graduates.

The NJROTC opened the ceremony with the presentation of colors at the milestone event, followed by a live performance by Freeport High School’s Select Chorale singing the national anthem – another first since the closing of schools in March 2020.

Class of 2021 president Victor Sanchez Castillo kicked off several speakers for the evening, followed by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Principal Joseph Mille, valedictorian Shyanne Gardner, salutatorian Mia Sorrentino, and Assistant Principal Gleni Pena each imparting advice, sharing special memories and encouraging the members of the graduating class to continue to be changemakers for peace and equality.

Dr. Kuncham enthusiastically welcomed the graduates and congratulated them for their perseverance and dedication, “I know that many of you have been waiting for this special day, a day to rejoice. You have triumphed over obstacles with determination and dedication. You have done something never done by anyone before - an entire year of remote or hybrid learning, quarantine, wearing masks, social distancing, contact tracing, google meets, zoom meet-s and reopening plans changing weekly and sometimes daily. Despite all these challenges and uncertainties, you persevered with your studies and have reached your end goal. You truly are champions and changemakers.”

He went on to say, “You are primed to become the leaders of our generation and to be the change our world needs. Continue to give of yourself to those in need, spread messages of peace and equality, be the change and lead the way for others to follow.”

Principal Joseph Mille spoke to the seniors stating, “You have the chance to pave your own path and I am extremely confident you have the tools to do so. I look forward to seeing you channel your passions to become positive, active and productive members of society.”

Mia Sorrentino, salutatorian, addressed the class saying “It is through our determination and steadfastness that we are gathered here today. Our situation was so unique and despite everything hurled our way, we have managed to make it through with our heads held high. We have been molded by our experiences and our newfound strengths and adaptability will ensure any change and progress that happens around us is for the better.”

Following, class of 2021 Valedictorian Shyanne Gardner reminded the students about the importance of finding joy in each day, being playful and having fun, “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives and there is already so much pressure to grow up and accomplish this or achieve that. But as we go off into the ‘real world’ don’t forget to play and take some time to be a kid again. Make time to do things that make you laugh and smile. If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it is that life is short and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone. Live your life in a way that brings you joy every day and remember it is okay to just play.”

Following the distribution of diplomas, the high school’s Class of 2021 turned the tassels on their caps from right to left and proudly recessed from the stadium as high school graduates.

The district’s Board of Education, administration and staff wish the Freeport High School Class of 2021 continued success in their future endeavors.