West Islip News
A Joyful Morning of Sun and Celebration for the Class of 2017
Shrugging off early morning rain, the high school’s Class of 2017 marched into the Lions football stadium on June 24 under sunny skies and the proud gaze of hundreds of family members and friends.

“The word that captures the essence of this class is empathy,” said Dr. Anthony Bridgeman, the high school's principal, praising the students’ character. Following his words of encouragement were memorable speeches by valedictorian Madeleine Gaffney and salutatorian Jack Duffy.

“Today serves as the first necessary building block in the construction of our lives outside of this school and this town,” said Gaffney. “This may be a difficult goodbye, but this is just the beginning. There’s so much out there, and now we are forced but prepared to face it. Keep an open mind to new ideas, but always remember where you came from, for we will always be Lions for life.”

“You must never forget what got you to where you stand now,” said Duffy. “Every day we wake up as slightly different people, from the cells in our bodies to our minds gaining experience. We always change little by little, making progress continuously in the moment, and that’s OK. Change is good, you gotta keep moving forward. Just remember all the people you used to be, and never forget the Lions den that started it all.”
Superintendent Bernadette Burns urged the new graduates to be kind and considerate.

“Go from this West Islip High School and do great things as good people,” she said. “Make good choices, for they will define who you are.”
In his speech to the graduates, Board of Education President Steven Gellar suggested that they be both be themselves and never settle for less.
“Being true to yourself and putting forth your best effort are an essential foundation for a life well-lived,” he said.

After diplomas were conferred, the new alumni sent their blue and white caps soaring and headed off to an afternoon of celebration.