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Mattituck graduates Class of 2017

Mattituck graduated 128 students today in its 103rd commencement ceremony

Mattituck High School graduated more than 120 students today in the school’s 103rd commencement ceremony.

Before they graduated, the Class of 2017 was honored for their many achievements in athletics, theater, arts, academics, community service and more. The class includes: 46 National Honor Society members, nine Tri-M Music Honor Society members, three National Technical Honor Society Members, seven National Art Honor Society members and thirty six Service Learning Enhancement honorees who had accumulated more than 65 hours of community service during their four years of schooling. The class also earned the distinction of having the highest concentration of SLE students in the program’s history.

Tami Loeffler from the Class of 1992 was in attendance, and had these words of advice to share with her soon-to-be fellow Mattituck graduates:

“Take the lessons you’ve learned here, the friends you’ve met, experiences you have, wrap them up in a safe place in side you and go out and see the world. Carry this sense of place within your self, within your soul, and go see what’s out there.”

Loeffler speaks from experience. After her own graduation, she went on to study abroad, work for Doctors Without Borders and join the Peace Corps.

“You have the chance, ability and opportunity. All it takes is the desire to want to see things for yourself, to be brave. So get out there and meet people, see what the world is really like — don’t believe what people tell you it’s like. Find out for yourself, and then come home to Mattituck.”

Principal Shawn Petretti announced another special guest in the audience: 107-year-old Hannah Lovett, a woman who left home at the age of 12 to escape the Irish Civil War and eventually found a home in Mattituck in the 1960s. She was unable to finish her education, having left in the eighth grade.

She was in the gymnasium Saturday morning to receive her honorary Mattituck High School Class of 2017 diploma.

“This was not a decision that was taken lightly, as receiving a diploma from Mattituck High School is something our students and graduates take great pride in, and certainly the class of 2017 has worked hard and dedicated much to achieve what they have,” Peretti said.

“But after speaking to her daughter and reading her memoir… it was clear that Ms. Lovett deserved to be honored with Mattituck’s Class of 2017.”

Hannah Lovett, 107, of Mattituck, receives her honorary diploma. Photo: Courtney Blasl.

“I call this ‘year one,’ because today marks the beginnings of the rest of our lives,” Salutatorian Thomas Hoeg said to his peers.

“What starts here, changes the world,” he said, borrowing from the motto of his school-of-choice, University of Texas, where he will study neuroscience in the fall. “That slogan… is beyond relevant to Mattituck’s Class of 2017. Behind me sit All State musicians, DECA award winners, filmmakers, state champions, Teeny Award winners, all-county athletes, community service volunteers, Rube Goldberg engineers, artists, NJROTC cadets, respected members of the US military…”

The list went on and on. “It sounds to me like we’re a group of motivated, multi-functional individuals who have started such great things here that we will change the world.”

“We only have one life, so live it. Do what you want to do, be who you want to be. Live life to the fullest,” said Valedictorian Tyler Seifert. “Success isn’t only measured by wealth or fame, but also by happiness. Don’t be scared to take risks, face the unknown or challenge norms.”

SoutholdLOCAL photos by Courtney Blasl.

Courtney Blasl
Courtney is a freelance photographer, videographer, web designer and writer. She is a lifelong Riverhead resident.