Harborfields High School’s 2023 valedictorian Lindsay Sung was among those recognized when the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association hosted the 29th annual Valedictorians Luncheon at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook on June 1. The SCSSA tradition honored the enviable accomplishments of the county’s highest-achieving graduates from the Class of 2023 and was attended by school district superintendents, high school principals, valedictorians and their parents.
After a warm welcome by SCSSA Vice President Dr. Harold Dean, SCSSA President James Polansky noted that the expectations of the valedictorians moving forward will be different and more challenging. Polansky advised the graduates to continue “being you.” He also gave them “the basics of success:” You don’t have to win every argument; Learn to yield; Don’t compare your life to others; Give credit; Don’t take no for an answer; No one is in charge of your happiness; Believe in miracles; and Get up, dress up, and show off.
Guest speaker Angelique Johnson-Dingle, the New York State Education Department deputy commissioner of P-12 Instructional Support, spoke from the heart with her advice for the valedictorians. In addition to encouraging them to pay it forward, not letting a fall prevent them from succeeding and to remember their home, she advised the graduates to “be kind to yourselves.” “You are the future,” she said. “We need you to go out into the world and shape it into a world you want it to be.”
The valedictorians were then called up onto the stage, accompanied by their district superintendent of schools and principal, to receive a commemorative plaque.
During closing remarks, SCSSA President-Elect Dr. Timothy Hearney acknowledged that parents were integral to the graduates’ achievements and should also be congratulated. To the valedictorians, Dr. Hearney said, “We are confident you will create new trails. You represent the best of education.”