Inspiring Messages Delivered at HHS Graduation

By Stephen E. Lipken



A large, friendly crowd witnessed the Friday, June 24th Harrison High School (HHS) Class of 2022 Commencement Exercises, encompassing approximately 277 students. 


HHS Principal Kimberly Beukama welcomed graduating seniors, parents, grandparents, friends and siblings; then called for a Moment of Silence, recognizing the loss of Class of ’22 member Reina Bleifuss, who passed away on November 25, 2021 at the age of 17.



“I ask the class of 2022, ‘What do you value,’” Beukama continued.  “Your high school experience has been historic and the challenges you have experienced have been countless, but adversity does not build character, it reveals it.  What values have you revealed in your four years with us?”


Harrison Central School District Trustee Dennis Di Lorenzo recognized that each pupil “came to us as an individual with differing passions, abilities, cultural backgrounds, intellectual motivations, differing perspectives and world views, needs, strengths, goals, differing definitions of success.  It is the combination of these characteristics in us that make us all unique.


“We want you to shoot for the moon.  I want you to soar, but most importantly, we want you to carry into the world the value of acknowledging difference, letting it challenge and change you…”


Class President Danny Eljamal talked about the “true value of time.” “One of my favorite quotes comes from Michael Altshuler: ‘The bad news is that time flies, but the good news is that you are the pilot.’ Don’t expect everyone to understand your journey, especially if they never walked your path.”


“Right now, let us use this day to look forward,” Faculty Selected Speaker Juan Gomez began.


“It is the collective experience that make up the value of our class…We understand the power that our generation has to induce change.  Living all the time in the melting pot of identity, it obligates us as a student body to pursue inclusion and equality for those around us.”


Student Selected Speaker Remy Rabin delineated the meaning of being a Harrison Husky, saying that it is a resilient breed, bred to pull sleds by the Chukchi people.  She compared the dog’s durability to her fellow students, who grappled with Covid 19, rise of racial injustice and religious hate crimes.