PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Harrison's Class of 2015 was reminded Friday night that it received the best education tax dollars can buy, but that the high school seniors proved they are worth it.
Superintendent Louis N. Wool cited a litany of academic, curriculum and physical improvements since he came to the Harrison Central School District. Quoting Harrison High Principal Steven Siciliano, Wool said, "In our community, all means all. . . .In those 13 years, a lot has changed."
In 2003, 68 percent of Harrison students received state Regents diplomas. On Friday, Wool said, 97 percent did. When he became superintendent, only 70 percent of the graduating class enrolled in four-year colleges. Next fall, nearly all of Harrison's 246 seniors will go to a four-year college.
"You have done so successfully,'' Wool said. "Frankly, the amount of tragedy this class has had to deal with has been insurmountable."
Wool was referring to the deaths of two Harrison High School students, a sibling and two parents this school year, during three separate highly-publicized tragedies.
On a brighter note, Wool said, "I've seen every play this class has done."
While noting that he has a daughter with a performing arts degree, Wool said, "You mostly get rejected."
That is not the case for Harrison senior Roma Scarano, he said. Scarano is one of a select seven student actors accepted by the Carnegie Mellon Acting Program.
Finally, Wool said he reads a lot of philosophers. "Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh are among my favorites."
Wool quoted Christopher Robin telling Pooh, "There is something you should always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think, but the most important thing is,.. even if we're apart...I'll always be with you."
Other commencement speakers included Class of 2015 President Erica LaManna and senior classmates Joseph Lagani and Jack Shapiro.
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