Tomorrow, the best of Shelter Island’s youth will line up and march onto the stage to receive diplomas as the school’s staff bids them a farewell and good luck. All of Shelter Island sends good wishes and hopes that each member of the Class of 2019 will achieve his or her dreams, and have lives of fulfillment and happiness on the paths they choose.
Proud parents, siblings, other relatives and friends will be on hand to applaud the many achievements of the graduates, who will leave the ceremony joyful but with bittersweet emotions, as most prepare to leave the community that has made their educational experiences so rich.
Thanks to the staff at Shelter Island School, they have had a unique educational experience in this small school, finding not simply one champion, but many to cheer them on, helping them surmount rough hurdles to bring them successfully through to this day.
The students have had the advantage of getting to know one another and the school staff on a personal level that would have been impossible in a large district.
Recognizing there are limits to such a small district, administrators, teachers and Board of Education members have approved numerous off-Island experiences to expose them to the wider world. The Shelter Island Educational Foundation has stepped up to fund many of these excursions. Without their support, such trips would not have been possible for a small district to afford.
As they embark on the next chapters of their lives — whether it’s to attend college, enhance their technical skills, join the military or enter the job market — they will find they have been well prepared.
What’s more, the community they are leaving behind will be monitoring their progress, and will continue to applaud their successes and lend a helping hand if they encounter bumps in the road.
We wish the Class of 2019 bon voyage, good fortune and the wisdom to never forget where they came from. We also thank all of those who have had a role in preparing these young people for what we believe will be bright, rewarding futures.