Pols guest star at Floral Park graduation

Jessica Chin
Senator Chuck Schumer speaks at the 2017 Floral Park Memorial High School graduation on June 24 at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex (Photo by Jessica Chin)

Political leaders shared stories and good wishes and offered advice at the Floral Park Memorial High School graduation on Saturday at Hofstra University.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and state Sen. Elaine Phillips, along with Floral Park Village Justice Douglas J. Hayden, spoke to the 215 graduates.  

Schumer shared a story about how as a freshman at Harvard University he was worried about fitting in but an unexpected opportunity changed the course of his life. Someone knocked on his door and asked him whether he would like to join the Harvard Young Democrats. At the time, Schumer was not involved in politics but he decided to join.

“In that moment, I took a leap and said OK to something new and different that enriched my life forever,” Senator Schumer said. “Now graduates, life is full of those moments, you just got to keep your eyes open to it.”

Phillips, of Flower Hill, also discussed the “key to success.” The “k” stands for knowledge, the “e” stands for effort and the “y” stands for you, Phillips said. She urged the students to “never stop learning ever.”

“The more effort you put in, the more success you will have,” she said. Phillips also urged the graduates to be honest with themselves and take risks. “Don’t be afraid to fail, and when you fail don’t forget to get right back up and do it again,” she said.

 Hayden reiterated Phillips’ advice about how failure is intertwined with success. If you look at successful people, they share “one common denominator,” and that is that “they failed but it is how they approached that failure, that learning experience that made them successful,” Hayden said.

He advised the class not to fear failure but to tackle it head on. “Keep your passion, keep your drive, don’t let others knock you, don’t let others label you, you be what you want to become and you will,” Hayden said.

The Floral Park Memorial High School graduating class has been highly successful. Of the 215 graduating students, 62 percent received an advanced regents diploma, Kathleen Sottile, the principal, said. The Class of 2017 was awarded over $12 million in scholarships and has a graduation rate of 99 percent, Sottile said. Seventy-seven percent will be going on to four-year colleges such as Binghamton University, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University and the University of California at Berkeley, among many others.

“The students you see here today are our future, they have shown commitment, drive and energy and we at Floral Park Memorial High School are proud to say that they truly define our future,” Sottile said.

Share this Article