HARRISON, N.Y. – From food poising to road closures to an allergic reaction, Rula Abdul Samad told her 245 fellow graduating seniors that she wanted any excuse to get out of speaking at the Harrison High School graduation ceremony Friday night at SUNY Purchase.
Alas, Samad made it to the college Concert Hall and her speech went off without a hitch. The senior class president and National Honor Society member reflected on highlights from the last four years.
“I’ll always hold on to our football win against Rye and the memory of us jumping into their brook,” she said. “I love dressing in weird outfits for spirit week and working with the seniors on the hallways decorations during our junior year.”
Samad went on to list the accomplishments the class of 2014 has brought to Harrison High School:
- All sports teams are in scholar-athlete distinction for a second consecutive year
- Boys basketball team made it to the county center
- Band performed at the pearl harbor memorial
- Boys track team won the Westchester County championship
- High school music won best overall performance in 2013
- Harrison’s first orchestra group graduated
- Debate team won the Coaches Association State Championship for the fourth consecutive year
- Harrison High School created its first gender neutral bathroom due to awareness created by the gay-straight alliance club
Students voted on two more students to speak, and chose Coby Lefkowitz and Danny DeBois, who has won 40 tournaments for the Harrison Debate team. He spoke about the choice between becoming an insider or outsider.
“An insider is someone who keeps their mouth shut. An outsider is someone who speaks out for what is right,” he said. “We’ve learned how to become advocates for issues that we believe in, but there is still room for improvement. We need to constantly push ourselves to constantly break the so-called unbreakable rule and challenge the insiders.”
DeBois also reminded his classmates that 70 percent of children in the developing world don’t even go to secondary school.
“We’re on the front line of urgent problems with our environment, our economy and our foreign policy and we’re more than capable of addressing them. The question is, do we want to?”