Hart emphasized that over the years, it has been a pleasure to teach the Class of 2008 both "facts and values."
Earlier in the ceremony, Superintendent of Schools Randy Ehrenberg expressed pride in the 511 students in the graduating class, as 96 percent of the class had earned Regents diplomas, with 69 percent of the class receiving Advance Regents diplomas.
"We have dreamed it for and with you, and you have come," she said.
Delivering a unique speech on behalf of the student body was Class President Adam Drake. First, Drake thanked parents and friends alike for attending the commencement ceremonies.
Then, he thanked his own parents for bringing orange slices to his sports practices. He described a scene where he was playing video games at his home when it dawned on him, "Adam, you're going to be a high school graduate."
Drake said he danced around this thought for a few moments, wondering, "What if our Shaker High School experience were a video game." Drake explained that each new year would be a different level in the game, with students earning points for mastering their way around the schools and achieving high scores on exams.
"Wait. What was that? Deliver a graduation speech, 200 points?" he said, concluding his speech.
Watching her younger brother receive his diploma from across the arena, Rachel McCloskey said that she was very excited for Michael McCloskey.
"I graduated from Shaker three years ago, and I've had such an amazing life since then. I can only imagine what his will be like," she said.
After the ceremony, Michael McCloskey said, "It goes by faster than you think. It feels great to be done with."
He said he plans to attend Marist College in the fall, majoring in biology and running track for the school's team.
Another proud parent, John Selert, said that one of his fondest memories was putting his daughter, Hannah, on the bus for sixth grade. Now, Hannah said, "School's finally over, and I'm starting a new chapter of my life."
She plans to attend Hudson Valley Community College and major in business administration while working a part-time job. Her goal is to one day own a coffee shop, she said.""