Pomp and circumstance at Dutchess Stadium
By Michael Turton
Beacon High School’s 2016 commencement is now part of the city’s history. The morning of Saturday, June 25, was warm and featured brilliant blue skies as the graduates marched onto the field at Dutchess Stadium in two lines. The 221 seniors were welcomed by a large and enthusiastic crowd of family and friends in the grandstands. They were also greeted by the Beacon High School band as it performed the iconic graduation anthem “Pomp and Circumstance” under the direction of Stephen Pietrowski.
Principal Joannes Sieverding welcomed the graduates and their families and acted as master of ceremonies throughout the morning. Paige Baisley, the salutatorian, led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by an address by valedictorian Rachel Ng. Abby Antalek also spoke as class president.
Once Interim Superintendent of Schools Ann Marie Quartironi made it official, certifying the graduation of the Class of 2016, each student walked to the podium to receive his or her diploma. Quartironi was assisted by Sieverding and Melissa Thompson, president of the Board of Education.
A Beacon High School diploma was also presented posthumously to Donald Francis DeChent as part of Operation Recognition, a program of the State Department of Education that honors the contributions of veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Just before the band performed “Le Sabre” as the processional that marked the end of the ceremony, the graduates enjoyed one last moment in the sun as 221 caps were thrown high into the air in celebration.
Interesting to see that in Beacon and Cold Spring, the valedictorians and salutatorians of each 12th-grade class are all young women. That’s more than a hat-trick! So someday maybe they will be paid the same as the young men they’ve studied with… That will be good for everyone individually, and for us as a nation. Three cheers to that! Congrats, graduates!