William Floyd High School recently held its August commencement ceremony, the K-12 culmination for 30 young adults who finished the requirements to earn their high school diplomas and have now joined approximately 640 of their peers from the Class of 2019 as the newest William Floyd alumni. Their hard work and determination in reaching the K-12 finish line, also helped set a third consecutive William Floyd graduation rate record for August graduates – 88.7% – the highest ever in William Floyd history. The high school also set a new June graduation rate record of 85.1%.
Dr. Michele Gode, summer school principal, in her commencement remarks highlighted the adversity the students overcame to achieve this milestone in their lives. “Some of you took short detours and quickly found your way back; some of you have battled obstacles throughout your entire educational career; and some of you found yourself on a path heading in the opposite direction of graduation,” she said. “You made an investment in yourself that nobody can take away. You have proven that you will not take no for an answer, nor will you settle for second best.”
Student speaker Kimberly Caraballo congratulated her fellow graduates and shared her experiences following an unexpected move back to Long Island during her junior year. “I knew nobody and was surrounded by a new environment and people,” said Miss Caraballo. “It took a while for me to find my place once again. It is hard to maintain a social life and be a scholar.” She added that she would not have been able to do this without the support of her family and friends who kept her accountable on her coursework. “It’s only up from here!” she told her classmates. “This is just one milestone of many more we will accomplish!”
Robert Vecchio, president of the William Floyd Board of Education, said that while each of their personal stories and paths to graduation have been different and sometimes filled with challenges, they now have a diploma that will open many doors for them in the future. “Behind every challenge is an opportunity to succeed. Face those challenges head on and see the opportunity to excel. On behalf of the Board of Education, I congratulate you and look forward to hearing of your successes in the future.”
In his remarks, Kevin M. Coster, superintendent of schools, added, “Each one of you could have taken the easier path. It’s not easy to get knocked down and get back up again. That’s what each one of you here today has done,” he said. “This diploma can never be taken away from you; you worked for it, you earned it and it’s yours forever. Celebrate, be proud of yourself, enjoy your accomplishments, but look to tomorrow. You are just in the beginning of your marathon. You have proven that you are strong enough and smart enough to do it. Go out there, work hard, and be proud to be Floyd Strong.”
The ceremony was attended by approximately 100 friends and family members, along with faculty, staff and Board of Education members including Mr. Vecchio, vice president Jeananne Dawson, and fellow trustees April Coppola and Lorraine Mentz. Speakers included student Kimberly Caraballo, Dr. Gode, Mr. Coster, Mr. Vecchio, Floyd Academy principal John DeBenedetto and William Floyd High School principal Philip Scotto. Graduate Dylan Barone led the “Tassel Ceremony.”
Congratulations to all of the graduates: Brian Amaya, Anthony Amaya-Fajardo, Brittany Asanto, Mario Auer, Cesar Banguera, Maritza Barbecho Munoz, Dylan Barone, Olive Beauzil, Jacqueline Bianco-Hoffmann, Cesar Cabrera Jara, Jason Cacace, Kimberly Caraballo, Justin Ceschi Jr., Jose Farez, Jayson Garrison, Rudi Gonzalez, Kahsheem Hall, Carlos Irra Oregon, Ellijah Jefferson, Phonchallar “PK” Kite, Maria Martinez Vasquez, Ta’Niya Mayo, Justin Melvin, Gia Panzella, Dylan Romaine, Karina Romero Perez, Anthony Rosario, Alexus Rountree, Destiny Scalera and Keanu Smith.
The William Floyd High School graduation rate has increased to 88.7% for August 2019 (85.1% in June 2019) a steady increase over the past three years an an upward trajectory since the four-year cohort graduation rate has been measured by the state. In 2006-07, the four-year cohort graduation rate was 62%. Under the leadership of the Board of Education, the William Floyd School District has implemented various factors to continue to raise the graduation rate, including: the implementation of the Floyd Academy, the Career and Technical Education program, the PASS (Positive Approach to Student Success) program, identifying at-risk students earlier, the creation of the William Floyd Learning Center, the Freshman Academy, credit recovery, attendance mentors, upgrades in guidance protocols, a K-12 focus on college and careers and more. The district will continue to strive to achieve new heights while helping students become prepared to be productive and successful citizens throughout their lives.