YONKERS, N.Y. -- The future beamed as brightly as the first day of summer sunshine for the graduates of the Andrus Orchard School as they celebrated their commencement Friday, June 20.
Dozens of eighth-grade students from Westchester and the New York metropolitan area received awards and then diplomas, as family, friends and members of the alternative school's student body looked on.
President and CEO Mimi Clarke Corcoran welcomed the audience and addressed the graduates.
"You took the time to learn, you took the time to fall and mess up, but you took the time to pick yourself back up and put yourself back on that road, and that's quite an accomplishment in life," Corcoran said. "Each of you will be going on to do exciting things, and the future awaits you. On the next part of your journey you will find new friends, and you should not be afraid to ask for help. If you learned anything at Andrus (Orchard), it is that you can reach for that star and know there are people behind you."
Guest speaker Jay Rosenthal, a former student and resident at Andrus and a recent honors graduate of Adelphi University, charged the graduates to take responsibility for their lives and futures and to consider adversity a challenge in his address.
"Throughout my life I have been told I can't or won't be able to accomplish many things and to accept my own limitations," Rosenthal said. "I sometimes wonder what would have happened if i had accepted those limitations and not perceived my own goals. Adversity can be helpful in learning to overcome challenges and to becoming successful."
Due to family privacy considerations, last names were not available. The valedictorians of the Class of 2014, Tarik and Darrias, accepted their honors along with a dozen other students who received special awards.
Orchard School student singer/songwriter Trevor gifted the Class of 2014 with an original song written for the graduation titled "Wish Me Luck," which he performed before receiving a standing ovation.