A luminous mix of red and blue once again glowed behind the arches of Caramoor's Venetian Theater on Tuesday, June 25. It was Katonah-Lewisboro’s purple—giving a warm welcome to all attending John Jay High School's Commencement Ceremony honoring the Class of 2019!
Commencement at Caramoor
Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and Some of the Special Speakers
Dr. Steven Siciliano, principal of John Jay High School, opened the ceremony by touching on the many successes of the Class of 2019, including six merit scholars, seven Section 1 championships, three state final four appearances, and first place at the Berklee Jazz Festival. Amid those accomplishments, he called out Unified Basketball—a new team made up of both special education and general education students—as the definition of community.
“Consider staying connected to a community (and I don’t mean social media—I mean a living community) among your highest priorities,” said Dr. Siciliano.
Valedictorian Ruby Potash reflected on how graduation did not mark a beginning but rather an increased autonomy to create a life of meaning.
“We’ve always been living, but now we’re living in a bigger world,” said Potash. “As we move forward, we should remember that it is us creating our lives, not the colleges we’re going to, the places we’re working, or the possessions we have.”
Salutatorian Jordan Schwartz recalled how John Jay’s Science Research program helped him to find his strengths. “I am extremely grateful for all of the programs and teachers that allowed us to begin to find our own ‘geniuses,’” he said.
Alexander Smith, history teacher and varsity ice hockey coach, was selected by the seniors to be the keynote speaker. He spoke directly to the students with affection and humor about milestones and building on success and having a mission to make a difference. But it was the catch in his voice as he bid them farewell that reflected the depth of his relationships with the students. A standing ovation swept the theater and stage within moments.