Dr. Amarnauth Samaroo
NEW YORK, JUNE 21, 2021 — To the strains of Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Queens Gateway’s Class of 2021 followed in that hallowed tradition we come to know as graduation day: a tradition that harks back to the turn of the 20th century and the University of Yale. Led by Valedictorian, Qetsia Florival and Salutatorian, Annah Singh, the processional strode majestically in an ostentatious display of ceremonial grandeur on the lush green Great Lawn of St. Johns’ university, reminiscent of the Bard’s countryside. Indeed, it was Sir William Shakespeare who first coined the phrase, Pomp and Circumstance, which became a staple of high school and college graduations in America for the last hundred years.
Master of Ceremonies, Shree Parsan, in his inimitable style, got the proceedings off to a delightful start and senior, Ruth Cruz, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Amarnauth Samaroo delivered the welcome address, and Principal Judy Henry delivered her message and greetings to the graduates. Speaking of traditions, Dr. Nichele Nivens, the first doctor of Queens Gateway, as she has done graciously each year, presented winners, Qetsia Florival and Anily Lalsa, with the Dr. Nichele Nivens scholarship of a thousand dollars. The ceremony also recognized the AP Capstone scholars, of whom assistant principal, Keisha Rucker, was particularly proud. Our first AP Capstone recipient was the 2019 Salutatorian, Shalini Nesan. Yearbook editors, Pritilata Islam, Anily Lalsa, and Jenna Nandalall were recognized for their outstanding work in producing this year’s yearbook, and Mahjabin Raiqa, for her ingenuity in designing the cover reflecting the theme, Gateway Unmasked.
Several members of the staff were in attendance to share this cherished moment with their students: Counselor Elissa Campbell, Michael Agovino, Verna Agudo, Joseph Akomodi, Quiana McCoy-Taylor, Carlos Hernandez, Zhani Joanidhi, Andres Lopez, Melisa Pinto, Kristine Rauh, and Robert Trialonas.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021:
Valedictory Speech, Qetsia Florival, Class of 2021:
This is it – after four long years of highlights and frustrations, we are all gathered here today to celebrate the end of one chapter and the start of a new one in life – probably one of the biggest ones yet.
Some of us have been in Gateway since middle school, while others – like myself – came later on in 9th grade. But regardless of how long we’ve been around, we all managed to persevere until we got to this point. The fact that this is happening is a testament to our progress as we befriended and learned from each other, worked through our classes, and came to better understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to grow. Sure, the road wasn’t easy – especially in the last 2 years – but what counts is that we made it and will have something to show for it.
So now that time has flown by and a moment that used to be so far away is being experienced, now what? Now we take what we have received from this experience and carry it on with us. The path we have been put on over our high school careers didn’t only give us the opportunity to delve into different academic subjects – ultimately, it has allowed us to make the transition from childhood to adulthood, a process that we can continue fine-tuning ourselves in past this stage, now that we have all the skills we need to succeed in college and beyond. This is a stage that sounds so exciting at first when we’re young but then becomes very intimidating once we’re at its cusp, especially when things didn’t necessarily go our way. But not only have we been looking forward to this, but we have been prepared for it, so it won’t be so bad. It’s only moving forward from here, looking towards our dreams for the future, and working towards them.
Of course, this achievement was made possible through a group effort. Therefore, thank you to the families, teachers, and staff that believed in, encouraged, and supported us throughout this time. Thank you to the friends that lifted us up and allowed us to gain new perspectives. And finally, congratulations to the class of 2021 – we earned it, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Salutatory Speech, Annah Singh, Class of 2021:
Thank you parents, students, faculty, and honored guests for joining us during this momentous occasion. I know the past year has been quite the rollercoaster, so I am very delighted to see so many people with us here today. Our experiences at Gateway have been everything but simple. Some of us have entered the Gateway community, in 9th grade, and others like myself have been here since grade 6. Here, is the place where we have evolved from kids and teenagers, into young adults. Not only have we witnessed ourselves grow, but we have also had the privilege to develop amongst our peers. During my time at Gateway, I am glad to have been able to share this experience with you all. Although our time did get cut short, I will treasure the memories that we have made, both over zoom and in person.
Today is an attestation to our hard work and merit, and we should celebrate it as such. This accomplishment is one that I attribute to our amazing teachers, our families, and most of all, none other than, ourselves. Being the intelligent, creative, and determined individuals that you are, I know you will all go on to lead lives filled with prosperity and success.
As we step into a new chapter, we leave behind the bubble of comfort we resided in during our time at Gateway, and move on to conquering our own endeavors. Although we will never know what surprises the future has in store for us, we can take pride in our resilience, perseverance, and will-power. I am grateful to have been your salutatorian, and I wish you all the best in pursuing your future aspirations. Thank you and congratulations to the Gateway Class of 2021!