Schools and Libraries
June 4, 2014
In an annual tradition dating back 27 years, community leaders and family members came together to honor an exceptional group of seniors at Long Beach High School's Senior Academic Awards Night. Students were presented with hundreds of awards totaling more than $100,000, made possible by the generosity of local individuals and organizations.
As family and friends took their seats in the auditorium, the high school chamber ensemble performed a variety of classical pieces. There was also a presentation by the select choir, who sang a selection from "Rent."
"We are here to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the Class of 2014," said Interim Principal Neil Lederer. "More than 150 students âˆ’ nearly half the graduating class are being honored for their academic achievements, character and scholarship."
"This is the high school's version of the Academy Awards," added Board of Education Vice President Dr. Dennis Ryan. "You are receiving the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. For 13 years, you have worked hard and accomplished great things, representing the best of everything about your class."
"These celebrations mark an ending and a beginning," said Superintendent of Schools David Weiss. "In a few short weeks, as you step into the world with your diplomas in hand, it will be something of an inauguration."
Vice Principal Dr. Fran Newman thanked the counseling staff and the guidance secretarial staff for the countless hours they put in to make the evening possible.
Before the start of the award presentations, Board of Education trustee Roy Lester acknowledged Board President Patrick Gallagher for his many years of dedicated service to the students of Long Beach Public Schools. Mr. Gallagher will be retiring from the Board at the end of June.
As the awards were presented, students were recognized for excellence as scholars, athletes, musicians, scientists, artists, leaders and humanitarians. They were also honored for exhibiting exceptional character and service to their community. In addition to department awards, there were dozens of scholarships presented to students by local PTAs, teachers' associations, government offices, civic groups and businesses. Especially meaningful were the memorial awards given in honor of past leaders, humanitarians and loved ones who had touched so many in the Long Beach community.
Presented by Mr. Lederer, the Principal's Leadership Awards recognized Falynn Enright, Julianna Gomez, Ki-Jana Morton, Hannah Piazza and Stefan Pitts as exceptional leaders and role models for their fellow students. Class valedictorian Chandler McMillan was recognized for her many accomplishments with the Principal's Achievement Award.
One of the most moving moments of the evening came at the end of the ceremony. The award recipients had been asked to name a teacher or staff member who had played a special role in his or her success, and each of these respected mentors was called up to the stage to receive a special round of applause.