Superintendent DeTommaso and “The Thrill of Graduation”

John DeTomasso, superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, sat with Your NewsMag to ponder the thrill of graduation for the upcoming Class of 2015:

“When you think about a student graduating high school you think about the culmination of their 13 years in the Bellmores and the Merricks , it is a time to reflect back on their elementary, middle school and high school life, and how they’ve grown within their school districts their communities – and their families. But when you think about commencement, you also think about beginnings, it’s the beginning of the next phase in life, whether onto more advanced university studies or into the work world. It is indeed a thrill for a student to earn that right to walk across that stage to graduate as the great Class of 2015. All these students have earned their individual achievements and successes, whatever they may be, and yet, on this one planned day 13 years in the making they all graduate as one! That Class of 2015! They all walk across the stage and they all receive that diploma – together as one class! They will be forever linked to this one day in their lives, wherever they go next. And it is a powerful message for the students.”

He maintained that the bond of those 13 years together will be strong enough that during reunions many decades from now, students will think back to those experiences they had in school before they discuss their present lives and what they do for a living, for example. “These same students who graduated as one class in 2015 will come to seize an understanding of and appreciate the life-long relationships they kindled during these formative years,” something not apparent to them at present.

The importance of these early school years, he continued, has prepared students for the next challenges in life, and the thrill of graduating will provide the drive to face those new challenges.


Parents, too, he explained, will also experience the thrill of graduation as their children do, if in a wholly different manner:

“In many ways, graduation is as much a parent’s day as it is a student’s day – perhaps even more. When a parent watches a graduation, they too – even more than the student who is living in the moment of the ceremony of this wonderful right-of passage – witness before their eyes the ‘time of their child’s life.’ Parents are the ones who look at graduation as a culminating event, the event that conjures up remembrances of walking their kids to the bus stop in kindergarten, or walking them to school, helping them with homework, and now ‘ My baby is walking across that stage, and life will change for them … as it will for me.’ It is an emotional tie to childhood, to watch a child evolve into adulthood in walking across that stage. It is a precious moment, indeed, for a parent.”

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