L to R: Valedictorian Keari K. Parris and Salutatorian Quiannah A. Potter of IEKHS Class of 2017
A total of 208 students—equally divided at 104 girls and 104 boys—graduated in the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School's "Pristine Class of 2017" on Saturday, June 17 in the Digna Wheatley Gymnasium on the school’s campus.
The 44th annual commencement ceremony of the Red Hook-area school was a joyous celebration. Principal Stefan Jürgen referred to the graduates as the most affectionate class he’s encountered, recounting ways in which the students were prone to offer hugs and kind words among themselves, as well as the school's administration, faculty and staff.
Jürgen also recognized the Student of the Year, Quiannah Potter, who was also the class salutatorian and K’Jean Williams, who completed a record 3,153 community service hours of the required 100. Mr. Jurgen also informed attendees that the Class of 2017 received a combined total of more than $5 million in scholarships and awards.
Valedictorian Keari Parris and Potter reunited at the top of the graduating class after being the top students at the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School four years prior.
“To achieve monumental things we must have ambition, belief, commitment and most of all, we must have compassion,” Parris told to his peers.
In her remarks, Potter implored her fellow graduates to leave a mark wherever they go. “Take control of your life,” she said. “The best things in life come from stepping out of your comfort zone.”
Samuel Rey, Class of 1977 alum, delivered the keynote address. He advised graduates that as they move forward in life, they should beware of dream-crushers and naysayers.
The highlight of the ceremony was a Hip-Hop and Soca medley covered by the concert band featuring the senior musicians.
One hundred twenty-six students will further their education at two- and four-year colleges or universities. Twenty students will attend trade schools, 28 have enlisted in the military while 36 students will enter the workforce. A large number of students received certifications in Career and Technical Education programs, such as The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism/Culinary Arts, Business/Finance, Carpentry and Cosmetology. In addition, 34 graduates were enrolled in the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program.
Akeil Greig, Jr., who passed away in April, received his diploma posthumously.