June 27, 2014 The 221 graduates of Byram Hills High School class of 2014 were bestowed advice as they sat together for the last time on the stage at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center on June 24.
Some of the speakers spoke of the importance of kindness. High School Principal Chris Bosari said, “consider others and your connection to them.” These Byram Hills graduates began elementary school on September 4, 2001, and Bosari asked them to take a few moments to remember that day; the time when they started “making their own way in the world.” Look forward to visiting the next event in your lives on a grander stage, said Bosari, perhaps further from home, which you are well prepared for. Bosari reminded the students of their sixth day of Kindergarten when their teachers organized them to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with a note “Made for you by Byram Hills Kindergarten” to send to the the first responders at ground zero after the dreadful incident of 9/11.
Firefighter Tom Sullivan and his New York Fire Department’s brothers were among the smoldering debris of the World Trade Center when someone passed a milk crate filled with the colorful brown paper bags that contained the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As Sullivan ate the sandwiches, the beauty of this simple act of kindness not only provided nourishment but was emotionally uplifting. Sullivan folded up the paper bags and notes, and put them in his pocket. They still bring a smile to his face and warmth to his heart. Sullivan arrived at Coman Hill gifting the young students with appreciation and a stuffed animal. The act of kindness and generosity still reverberates and connects Sullivan to the students. At graduation, Sullivan sat among the first rows to see for himself how the students are doing and he assuredly was as proud as their parents, family and friends. Bosari introduced Sullivan and the audience loudly applauded him. Bosari closed his speech with; “Remember sometimes the most profound and meaningful events can be accomplished with a brown paper bag, some crayons, and a peanut and jelly sandwich.”
Board of Education President Ira Schulman addressed the graduating class on behalf of the BOE. “Life is not a spectator sport,” said Schulman. “Take time to be involved in your community, and remember you will always get back far more than you give.”
As the graduates move to a more mature and responsible phase of life, Superintendent Bill Donahue advised them to not regret what you have not done; don’t regret that you haven’t been as kind as you might, as it will make life easier and more enjoyable if you are kinder to family, friends, and to others in general. “Don’t be too strong, or too important to also be a kind person.”
Class Valedictorian Stephanie Ding spoke of the extended Byram Hills family that includes friends and faculty. Ding says she looks forward towards the twists of every turn in the future as she and her classmates have faith in themselves to follow their hearts.
Salutatorian Andrei Isichenko said his classmates have left an impressive list of accomplishments as part of the 53-year history of Byram Hills: a record number of students completed the science research program, students set a number of records on the sports fields, they performed some impressive musical performances, began new school clubs, and committed to volunteer community roles such as volunteer firefighters and EMTs.
Isichenko concluded his speech with a Benjamin Franklin quote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” He says the value of the learning at Byram Hills will guide the students to future discoveries.
Chris Bosari, Byram Hills Principal, quoted Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen, “What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
Prom: "Unforgettable in every way and forevermore, that's how you'll stay" By A.J. Brodsky Kyra Higham and Abbey Ratafia contributed to this article
June 14, 2014 An unforgettable night for everyone, the Byram Hills Class
of 2014 had their annual prom the weekend of June 7. Every year, the drama that circles prom is nearly infinite. Not just the night itself, but the events leading up to and after the prom can cause quite a stir for everyone. It all starts with the dates. Who's getting asked and who's going to be asking. That stress lasts from early April to late May. Then the outfits must be chosen. Elegant dresses for the girls must be claimed on Facebook in advance to avoid duplication of design. The boys must match the vests and ties to their dates' dresses. Once all that's done, people still have to deal with plans before and after prom.
The pre-prom is an opportunity for parents and relatives to take pictures of this momentous high school occasion. Professional photographers may have been hired, but that doesn't mean the moms can't snap a few shots with their phones. Pictures are taken of the individual students, then the dates together, and then the families. Pictures are also taken of all the boys in the pre-prom, then the girls, then everyone as a group. Once the festivities are over, the kids pile into a limo or bus and then head off to “The Princess,” the boat where the prom is held.
The prom is possibly the last social event the entire senior class experiences together. The social pressure of everyday school life is lifted. The grade is unified for the final send-off. The students took Principal Chris Borsari's message, "Students who are intoxicated or found to be in possession of drugs or alcohol will not be permitted to board 'The Princess'," to heart. The prom was very safe and a fun time for all.
There were a number of after-prom experiences that prom goers indulged in. Some went home for an all-night movie fest, others hung around Times Square, and some went to the Copacabana nightclub for some extra partying. The morning after, few had any energy left and some well deserved rest was in order. Prom was a life-changing experience for all those who attended, and it's a memory no one will forget.