Recognition Ceremony 2019

Congratulations to the Class of 2019

Celebrating the Class of 2019

 There was a festive atmosphere in the Westchester County Center on June 13 when the Center for Career Services Class of 2019 celebrated their Recognition Ceremony.

Parents, many carrying balloons and flowers, filed into the arena minutes before their sons and daughters processed in, accompanied by the celebratory “Pomp and Circumstance.” Students were led by Silvia Magailon from New Rochelle High School and Kevin Merchan, from Sleepy Hollow High School, both students in the Security, Law and Policing Program.

Director of Career Services Dahlia Jackson referred to Silvia and Kevin as “true leaders,” as both had been recruited by the United States Marine Corps. Kevin carried the American flag, and both were escorted by Sgt. Cody Tilley, USMC.

A salutation was offered by Ken Jones, Esq., a council member for the Town of Greenburgh.

“This ceremony marks the next step in your growth,” Mr. Jones said. “Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2019. We wish you all health, wealth and good fortune on the next leg of your journey.”

Several students were presented with special awards, including Carpentry student Thomas Moran who was awarded a scholarship and paid internship from Belfour Property and Restoration, a national restoration company. The honor was presented by Geoffrey Miller, project manager.

“I congratulate all of you on taking the initiative to become a tradesperson. Go and live the dream of working with your hands, and this is how it all starts,” Mr. Miller said.

Valedictorian Gianna Bencivengo reflected on her time as a student at Career Services.

 “CCS developed my passion,” Gianna, a pre-engineering student, said.

 Two former students returned to share their experiences.

 Kaylah Jones, an EMS student and member of the Class of ‘18, became a nurse practitioner and is currently studying biology.

 Ms. Jones shared her four universal truths: They consist of having trust, not being afraid of falling, knowing your limits and being free to be yourself.

 “I hope you remember my four universal rules to life,” Ms. Jones said. “And remember, all diamonds are made from high pressure.”

 Culinary Arts student Brandon Howard Dunkley, Class of 2009, returned to share his perspective too.

 Mr. Dunkley held up a spring-form pan and asked the audience if they knew what it was. He said he loves this pan because it helps to make his favorite dessert — cheesecake. But, he said, he also likes its shape.

 “I love the shape of a circle. It represents continuity and infinity. Without anything, the circle travels a steady, smooth path only to arrive at its place of origin to begin yet another journey,” Mr. Dunkley said.

“Life is not as predictable, direct and smooth as a circle,” he continued. “Life gives us many turns and unexpected pit stops.”

For him, he said, it was an experience that also enabled him to participate in SkillsUSA, in the category of public speaking. He placed fifth in his first competition and first the following year, enabling him to compete at the national level. This experience propelled him to a successful career as a public speaker, a place he never expected to be.

 “No matter what journey life may take you on, don’t fret. Everything all comes full circle. Never allow what you are currently doing to determine your life. Just know that everything in life will come full circle,” he said.

 District Superintendent Dr. Harold Coles shared with students some words that have meaning to him in the hope they might also find them inspiring.

 Quoting Louis Cass, he said, “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.”

 “What does that really mean,” Dr. Coles asked. “Integrity, character, believing in being real, walking the talk and what we do really matters,” he said.

 “Lead by example as you go out in the world,” he continued. “Remember, the skills you have learned will take you far.”

 Before long, it was the moment students, and their families, had been waiting for: the distribution of their certificates.

 Each class, from Animal Science to Video Production was called on stage as their families clapped their support.