On Friday, June 22nd, the fifth Commencement Exercises for the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (WHSAD) was held at Grand Street Campus. 89 students received diplomas, including 21 who earned Advanced Regents diplomas, two with Honors. The graduation ceremony was truly a celebration of the students and their achievements, with music, slide shows, and energetic speakers who wished the scholars great success in the future.
The Keynote Speaker was Cassidy Jones, Education Director at the Park Avenue Armory, who has been a supervisor and mentor to nearly 30 WHSAD students over the last three years. “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” was the theme of her speech as she encouraged students to always find joy in their lives, but also get back up after a defeat or setback. Graduates were especially entertained by the weeble toys that were distributed during the speech. It is a message that will surely stay with them as they set off on the next phase of their lives.
Also speaking to the students was Kathleen Grimm, Deputy Chancellor of the Department of Education. She told students that while they likely will not remember her as their speaker, she hoped they would remember her message to always persevere in the face of challenges, and to constantly be moving forward in their lives, unafraid to try new things.
Valedictorian Sobiha Ahmed and Salutatorian Sophia Villiere spoke to their classmates, reflecting fondly on their 4 years at WHSAD and giving thanks to the teachers, counselors, and other personnel who shaped their high school experience. Their grade point averages separated by a mere tenth of a point, both Sobiha and Sophia graduated with Advanced Regents Diplomas with Honors, and will be attending the City College of New York in the fall. Although WHSAD’s student population is 76% male, Sobiha is the 3rd female valedictorian of WHSAD in the 5 years the school has had a graduating class.
WHSAD’s graduation rate has risen consistently risen over the last five years to nearly 90%, a testament to the hard work and dedication of teachers and administration in preparing young adults for the challenges ahead.
The Class of 2012 of WHSAD would like to extend special thanks for Principal Gill Cornell, Guidance Counselor Fredswinda Valentin, and Student Activities Coordinators Angela Dam and Philip Hayes for making their last months and days at WHSAD especially memorable.
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