WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Outside the Westchester County Center, rain pounded the pavement and thunder rumbled ominously in the distance.
Inside, 106 graduates celebrated reaching a milestone.
The dark weather outside could not dampen the spirits of the Woodlands High School seniors participating in Friday evening's graduation ceremony. Cheers, laughter and the occasional blow horn echoed through the auditorium as parents, family and teachers watched the graduates accept their diplomas.
Keynote speaker and state senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins told the students to cherish their achievement and not let the moment pass them by.
“Tonight is one of the biggest nights of your life,” she said. “If you miss this, you will miss an opportunity to tell yourself how great you are, how extraordinary you are and how much you’ve accomplished.”
A number of graduates from the highly acclaimed class will be headed off to college in the fall, leaving Greenbrugh for places like Duke and Pepperdine, Harvard and Georgia Tech.
In their final moments as classmates, students and speakers talked about everything from Lebron James to Spongebob Squarepants. Together, the senior class recognized the faculty who they said had made a difference in their lives and talked about the legacy they will leave behind.
“We’re actually the best class in Woodlands High School. Ever,” Senior Class Vice President Samuel Washington III said, drawing cheers from the crowd.
As they walked across the stage, some students waved to their families, others saluted their classmates and a few broke into a dance. Regardless of how they did it, they all left the stage as high school graduates.
“Woodlands is a great place and it was a great place to foster learning in me and my classmates,” Valedictorian Shane Burke said. “I am proud to say I went to Woodlands.”