South Orangetown Central School District

Tappan Zee High School’s Class of 2023 celebrated its graduation on the Joseph J. Hickey Memorial Field this evening! The TZHS Concert Band, under the direction of Music Department Team Leader William Hughes, kicked off the ceremony with a variety of musical selections before launching into the “Pomp and Circumstance” processional as our seniors walked out onto the field. Valedictorian Matthew Tobin led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the “Star Spangled Banner,” performed by senior choir members and conducted by Choral Director Russell Wagoner, DMA.

 In his address, Principal Rudy Arietta referenced a famous speech given by the North Carolina State Basketball coach Jim Valvano at the ESPY Awards as he accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award in 1993. Arietta explained that during Valvano’s speech, he gave advice on how to live your life to the fullest. “Valvano said that if we are able to laugh, think and cry each day, those days would be full and our lives as a result would be so as well. So, as we think back to our four years together, I would say that it has been a very full four years,” Arietta said. 

Arietta briefly spoke about Arianna Fojtlin, a member of the Class of 2023 who passed unexpectedly in 2019. “She is remembered by her friends as loyal, kind-hearted, artistic, and someone who always wanted to make others happy. She had a contagious laugh and was always there for her friends when they needed a hug,” he noted before presenting her sister with an honorary certificate for Arianna.

Valedictorian Matthew Tobin, Salutatorian Dylan Handelman and Class President Daniel Albanese each delivered moving speeches reflecting on their memories, the importance of embracing change, prioritizing appreciation for small moments and purposefully living one’s truth. 

Arietta presented the Class of 2023 to Interim Superintendent of Schools Ileana Eckert officially declaring that the class met the requirements needed to officially graduate. Treasurer Liam Boyle and Secretary Jack McHugh read aloud the class roll as seniors took the stage to accept their diplomas. Class of 2023 Vice President Meline Kalishian concluded the ceremony and congratulated their fellow classmates as they ceremoniously moved their tassels before throwing their caps in the air.

Congratulations, TZHS Class of 2023! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see what you do next!

TZHS Graduation