The Seaford School District commencement of the class of 2022 was held Friday under clear skies on Ron Dickerson field in Bob Dowd Stadium.
Seaford High School Principal Dr. Zulieka Jarmon-Horsey led the ceremony and told the crowd, “This class has persevered, they are determined, and they have grit. This night marks completion of their high school career.”
Yeraldin Torres-Landeros’ message was about perseverance through adversity. She spoke of her own journey to being the Seaford class of 2022 Valedictorian, which included facing racism and discrimination. Photo by Lynn Schofer
In attendance among numerous faculty and staff in support of the class were School Board President David Tull; Vice-President Kimberly Hopkins; and school board members Dara Savage, Jeff Benson, Troy Purnell along with Seaford Mayor David Genshaw, Vice Mayor Dan Henderson, Councilman Matt MacCoy, Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent, Seaford Police Chief Marshall Craft, and Blades Mayor Robert Adkinson. Also present were Seaford Superintendent Dr. Corey Miklus along with the district administrators Dr. Sharon DiGirolamo, Jason Cameron, Dr. Kelly Carvajal Hageman, Meaghan Brennan, Dwayne Hill, Doug Henry, Julie Kirby, and Kimberly Simmons.
“We thank you all for joining us tonight for this special occasion,” Dr. Horsey said.
“The Seaford School District has done the best to provide you opportunities to expand your learning experiences and now it is up to you. You have choices to make, you have the necessary tools and skills. Please forge forward on your path, write your own story, do so with integrity, bravery, virtue, and kindness,” said Tull.
“The class of 2022 doesn’t need quotes or lessons from me or any other adult about pushing through crisis because you all have been doing just that for the past two years,” said Miklus.
Dr. Miklus cited remote learning, distance from friends and family, ongoing stress, and anxiety about the future evidencing the class’ ability to forge through adversity to graduation.
“Congratulations on your perseverance specifically during the last two years. You will all serve as wonderful examples to all your fellow Blue Jays,” Miklus said. “I assure you the lessons you learned as you face some of the most difficult moments of your life will sustain you and give you strength as you face the challenges yet to come.”
Dr. Miklus reminded the class, “We work best when individuals work together to strengthen our community. Work to build goodwill among those around you. Take the lessons you learned about fairness, kindness, inclusion, and equity and apply them to your daily lives.”
Dr. Horsey introduced the Salutatorian Sierra Holmes and Valedictorian Yeraldin Torres-Landeros as two amazing young women from the class of ’22.
Holmes told her classmates, “We the class of 2022 have so many people to thank for their support over the past 13 years.”
Holmes thanked the plethora of individuals who provided the multiple avenues to make success possible, “Thank you for making sacrifices for us, supporting us, encouraging us, making sure we received the resources we needed for school, and making sure we went to class.”
“We finally made it, the past 13 years have flown by and after today a new chapter will begin,” she told her classmates. “As we all embark on different paths I want to remind you, time flies. Cherish every moment and do what makes you happy, remember who you are. We are Seaford class of 2022.”
Holmes said the class is full of greatness, potential, and success, “That is what is on the inside of each of you. When you remember this, you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Class Valedictorian Yeraldin Torres-Landeros said the class is the home of future professionals. “While our journeys are significantly different….we will always be connected through our endeavors,” she said.
Torres-Landeros spoke on her personal struggles and triumphs. “I now stand here as the valedictorian of Seaford High School. I stand here as a proud individualistic Mexican-American with large dreams,” said Torres-Landeros. “Most importantly, I stand here, as a proud and thankful daughter…as a representation of my parents and their sacrifices, as a symbol of my parent’s unconditional love, support, hard work, and guidance.”
The valedictorian ended her speech with encouragement to her classmates, “Success is in the effort.”
“There are going to be times in your life when you have to pivot and you have to adjust. There will be times in your life when you have to speak up and there are times when your silence is your voice,” said Jarmon-Horsey. “So, I stand here as we are a multi melting pot of people in Seaford School District that has welcomed me. We are one, we build bridges. Today we stand here and celebrate the hard work of our students. We are extremely proud of each and every one of them. This is us, this is us and we are the Seaford School District.”
Dr. Horsey later told the class as they journey on their life road, “Stay determined, stay connected, be kind, passionate, and you find joy in what you do. Remember to stop and enjoy the journey, explore new options, slow down and yield to make decisions. Your wings will work as you leave the nest. Fly and continue to fly. Go out and do your absolute best.”
The diplomas were presented and the tassels were changed led by Senior Class President Hannah Moore. The class of 2022 members were met by family and friends on the field to celebrate their graduation.