The Elmont Public Library was filled with green and white as parents and invited guests watched the procession of sixth-grade students from Howell Road School enter the auditorium at the start of the school’s moving up ceremony. Board of Education President Antoinette “Toni” Pomerantz, Vice President Patricia Farrell and board trustees Frank Chiachiere, Ph.D., William P. Striss and Vinny Pandit along with Superintendent of Schools Constance D. Evelyn and Assistant Superintendent for Business and Human Resources Gerard Antoine were also in attendance.
Prior to the students’ arrival, the audience was treated to a special video containing the students’ baby photos and photos showing how they look today. Everyone enjoyed viewing the baby photos and trying to guess who they were.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem, lead by student Henna Zafar, students Jada Alleyne and Katelyn Persaud spoke on behalf of their classmates and shared fond memories including attending the opera, roller skating and building gingerbread houses together.
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and to change,” said Superintendent of School Constance D. Evelyn. “Your thinking is mindful, authentic and courageous. Always make your choices wisely. If you ask anyone who has achieved some measure of success, they will tell you to work hard, be thorough and be committed to excellence,” she added. She then shared a few words of wisdom including “Swing higher by pumping harder, each of you has a special gift, and remember doing what is right has never failed to strengthen our spirit. Congratulations for achieving your graduation.”
Board of Education trustee Frank Chiachiere, Ph.D. congratulated the students on behalf of the board of education. “You are the generation known as the Digital Natives and will contribute to making our world a better place,” he said. He also shared a few words of advice from “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Rev. Robert Fulghum including “Share everything, play fair and be aware of wonder.” She continued, “I wish you a world filled with wonder. God Bless you, your families and our country.”
Several times during the program, the students showcased their musical talents by singing several songs. Sixth-grade student Miles Fortuno had the distinction of presenting the class gift to the school. This year, the class presented a beautifully framed replica of Pablo Picasso’s painting “Petite Fleurs.” He noted the symbolism of the hands holding the flowers and compared the hands to their parents and teachers and the flowers to the students as they grow and learn. “As we become the next generation of adults, we will be the hands holding the flowers,” he added. The artwork, painted by Picasso in 1958, will certainly be a beautiful addition to the Howell Road School.
Howell Road School Principal Frank Huplosky noted that it was an honor and privilege to be the school’s principal and that the students were ending a wonderful journey, but about to begin a new and exciting one. “There is no such thing as failure,” he said. “Failure is just life moving us in a different direction. You are very different from other generations before you. You are on track to become the most educated generation. The world is an amazing place, pursue your dreams and respect yourself and others. Best of luck and continue to make us proud.”
As the students’ names were announced, they walked across the stage and were recognized by board trustee Frank Chiachiere and Superintendent Constance D. Evelyn. Student Lindsey Jacob shared the appreciation and sentiments of the class. “Our teachers have prepared us for the future. We look forward to being an inspiration to others.” A special thank you was also extended to music teacher Michael Rodgers for his years of service.
The students concluded the program by proudly singing “We’ll Remember Howell Road” and then joined their families to celebrate this momentous event.