PURCHASE, N.Y -- Blind Brook High School graduates and their families enjoyed the lighter, creative side of their classmates during 41st commencement exercises.
Senior Cole Bauer wrote a song about growing up in his "small town." Other past and present graduates kept the audience entertained with humor at SUNY Purchase's Performing Arts Center.
"Doesn't 2002 seem like yesterday when you were dropping loved ones off at kindergarten?" Blind Brook High Principal Patricia Lambert asked. "And now begins the next chapter in their lives."
Senior Sarah Nuckel provoked non-stop laughter and reflection, saying that everyone asks, "Why are you called Blind Brook High School?" And it's a good question, she said, since the Blind Brook Union Free School District is located in the village of Rye Brook within the town of Rye. The stream called Blind Brook separates the town of Harrison and its school district from the village of Port Chester and its school district -- which is within the town of Rye. (Nuckel was delivering her speech in the hamlet of Purchase, which is in the town of Harrison.)
Blind Brook also is bordered by the Rye City School District and not far from the Rye Neck Union Free School District which happens to be located within the town of Mamaroneck, which includes the Mamaroneck Union Free School District. Meanwhile, about 30 percent of students in the village of Blind Brook attend the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District. (The other 70 percent attend Blind Brook schools.)
"Why not call it Rye Brook High School?" Nuckel asked.
Nuckel then elaborated on the symbolism of Blind Brook, describing the stream that flows past her backyard as the "constant movement in our lives, Brooks tend to be very deep. I have plenty of experience falling in." (She noted how those traumas saved her from drowning, or at least from fearing death, while taking AP exams.)
"Brooks lead to rivers. College is our river,'' she continued. "Yes, I'm going to college. Sorry to any teacher who lost that bet."
And rivers lead right to the ocean, Nuckel said, while reflecting on a future filled with incredible experiences. "Congratulations, seniors. We conquered the Blind Brook and there's nothing but smooth sailing ahead."
The 108 prospective graduates were alternatively moved and enlightened by guest speaker Joe Levy. He recounted his graduation processional into Blind Brook High School 33 years ago when he encountered Mr. Spano -- an imposing physical education teacher "who was a walking milk ad. I turned to him and hugged him and burst into tears."
The gifts and passions Levy embraces today were seeded and developed at Blind Brook. "I read. I write. I listen to music,'' said the former magazine editor at Rolling Stone, Blender, Maxim and Billboard -- who now hosts the Spotify-owned radio show "Incoming."
Levy's work remains fun and full of surprises -- much like his high school years, he said, detailing humorous encounters with celebrities including Jay Z, Beyonce and Jennifer Aniston.
"Once I saw the sunrise with Bono."