"Being in Mount Kisco and Fox Lane has given me the confidence and self-esteem that I don't think I would have gotten anywhere else."
Those words were spoken by student speaker Sabrina Paulino and caused more than a few people attending the 2012 Fox Lane High School commencement ceremony to wipe their eyes.
Selected to speak by her peers—not just because her words would have an impact on the crowd, but because the experience of giving the speech would have a postive affect on her—Paulino spoke of past hardships and of how coming to Mt. Kisco and attending Fox Lane changed her life. (
Over 300 graduating seniors gathered under the tent at the Caramoor Center for the Arts to celebrate the changes in their lives happening after graduation. The temperature inside the Venetian Theater reached over 90 degrees but the mood under the tent was joyful as speakers reminisced, laughed and cried over the memories of the last four years and the paths not yet taken by the class of 2012.
High School Principal Joel Adelberg spoke about how national issues and events like Sept. 11, bullying, natural disasters and the election of the nation's first black president brought many opportunities for teachable moments over the last four years.
“There is also so much to be learned from those moments when you least expect it,” he said. “Everything we do, everyone we encounter, every challenge we accept presents another teachable moment.” (
Superintendent of Schools Jere Hochman told graduating seniors to hold on to the "insurance policy" that was "included with their dipomas," while they continued to find themselves, their voices and their dreams.
Salutatorian Jordan Federbush reflected on the past four years and his many memories at Fox Lane, including class trips, homework and the learning that had been accomplished. He emphasized to his fellow seniors that although they would make new friends and explore new interests, they should take time to "enjoy where you are, right here, right now."
Valedictorian Kurt Wasserman drew inspiration from his childhood superheroes, and said there were 'super' qualities that applied to each of his classmates.
"Superhero parallels encourage us to aspire to greatness and leadership and to protect what we care about," he said, noting that even superheroes get advice from associates. "You never know when or from whom you will learn, but you must be open to receiving new knowledge to grow and to become a stronger person."
Physics teacher Jerry Ludwig provided the faculty address and several examples of student caring and compassion.
Parents reflected, too.
Didi Woodhull of Pound Ridge was there to watch her son, Harry Woodhull, who will attend St. Lawrence University this fall. She and her friend, Nancy Grasso, who had twin sons graduating, Nicholas and Anthony Grasso, said they were sad but ready to see the end of an era.
"We've had wonderful years in Bedford schools," said Woodhull. "Great teachers, and an amazing, wonderful school system."
"We've really been lucky to live here."