BRONX, NY, June 1, 2012- On June 2nd, Preston High School held its 62nd annual Commencement Exercises. The 123 members of the Class of 2012 gathered on the South Lawn under sunny skies to receive their diplomas.
Class salutatorian Deanna Ibrahim welcomed the invited guests with an address that paid tribute to her class’s unity and resilient spirit in the face of adversity as she acknowledged the poignant loss of several members of the Preston community in recent years. Weaving into her speech appropriate quotations from familiar Disney films such as Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King and Mulan, Ibrahim explained life lessons that applied to her class’s experiences and recalled favorite memories of their four years at Preston. Ms. Ibrahim will be attending Bard College in the fall.
Keynote speaker was Annalea Canzoniero Ricci, who received this year’s Distinguished Alumna Award. Mrs. Ricci, PHS ’62, was recognized both for her long career as an outstanding science educator and for her ongoing support of Preston High School and its mission. Several years ago she and her husband Ken established the Mary Ricci Memorial Scholarship to honor her mother-in-law. This scholarship provides yearly tuition support that enables a deserving, hard-working young woman to remain at Preston until her graduation.
Among graduates being recognized for their achievements were Kelly Simpson, recipient of the Divine Compassion Award for Integrity, Generous Service and Exemplary Leadership; Clarisa González, recipient of the Helen and Anton Wagner Memorial Award for Outstanding Service and Compassion in School and Community; and Stephanie Ashly Cabán, recipient of the Sr. Mary Carmella Stapleton Alumnae Association Award for Exemplary Preston Spirit. Mrs. Linda Youngren, Dean of Studies, announced to the audience that the 123 members of the Class of 2012 had earned a remarkable total of more than $11 million in scholarship awards from their various colleges and universities.
Commencement exercises concluded with a rousing call to action from class valedictorian Sofia Ahsanuddin, who urged her classmates to strive to become metaphorical “linchpins”—small but absolutely essential components of a larger entity. Citing author Seth Godin, she challenged the class to become people who “can steer, innovate, provoke, lead, connect, and make things happen.” Ms. Ahsanuddin will be entering the eight-year-long B.A./M.D. program at CUNY’s Brooklyn College, administered in conjunction with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in the fall.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the graduates gathered on the South Lawn to participate in the traditional “tossing of the caps” to celebrate their graduation.
Preston High School is a private, Catholic, college preparatory school for girls located in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and charted by the New York State Board of Regents. For more information about Preston High School, contact Jennifer Geideman at (718) 863-9134 x143, or email HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com.