The Bethpage High School Class of 2012 accepted their diplomas during the school’s 57th annual commencement ceremony on Friday, June 22 before an audience of family, friends and community members.

This year’s graduation was held in the high school auditorium due to inclement weather, but rain did not dampen anyone’s spirits. There was a smile on every face as the soon-to-be graduates listened to words of advice, inspiration and fond memories from Student Council President Elaina Kuhlke, Principal Michael Spence, salutatorian Daniel Zirkel, valedictorian Chelsea Levy and Superintendent of Schools Terrence Clark.

“Some of our greatest friendships have been created in this high school. My memories of BHS are gold – or should I say blue and gold! In just a few minutes we will begin the rest of our lives as we move on to college, the military or the workforce. Thank you everyone and congratulations to the Bethpage High School Class of 2012! We did it!” exclaimed Student Council President Elaina Kuhlke.

Salutatorian Daniel Zirkel recalled his years at Bethpage High School. He remarked, “Our teachers and administration care about each and every one of us. Thanks to them, we have become well-rounded individuals. To the parents – the education that your children received in the Bethpage School District is top notch and we are living proof of this.”

Valedictorian Chelsea Levy stated, “On behalf of my fellow classmates, I want to thank the teachers and administration for caring so much about us. I also want to thank you [classmates] for the privilege of growing up with you. Congratulations!”

Superintendent of Schools Terrence Clark began his commencement remarks by saying, “Thanks to Chelsea, Dan and Elaina for their inspiring words. Thank you Brianna [Stratis] for your beautiful rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’” Mr. Clark reminisced about the many wonderful things that the students of BHS were involved with this year, including their trip to Gander, Newfoundland for a 9/11 tribute, once again being named “Most Philosophical School” as well as Newsday’s One of the Finest in the Nation for AP Classes, 28 of 32 varsity teams qualifying for scholar-athlete teams, the Challenger Basketball team, Athletes Helping Athletes, the Senior Citizens Prom, artists-in-residence Dan Christoffel and Mark Wood, the Relay for Life and the many fundraisers and food drives. “We are proud to announce that BHS has one of the highest Regents diploma rates in Nassau County: 98 percent. Pound for pound, this was the best senior class of all time. On behalf of the Board of Education and myself, I wish the Class of 2012 all the best. I am privileged to be the superintendent of Bethpage. Thanks, Class of 2012!”

After the last diploma was conferred, Principal Spence took a trip down memory lane. “Try to remember the little moments. These moments make us who we are. Graduates, it’s been a pleasure being your principal. Your life ahead will be a great journey. Congratulations and best of luck to the Bethpage High School Class of 2012!”

Caps were thrown into the air and the audience cheered as the Class of 2012 celebrated the completion of their high school education.