This past Friday, May 20, the graduating seniors of Baldwin High School, the Class of 2021, paraded through Baldwin Park to announce their college decisions. Parents, siblings, friends, and family joined these seniors in balloon-clad vehicles as they honked, clapped, and danced to music played through speakers. Due to Covid-19 precautions, this year was the second time they celebrated “decision day” with a socially distant but still in-person event.
The graduates were in high spirits, and when asked about what they would take with them from high school, they talked about the people. “Baldwin High School has a great amount of diversity, and it has taught me that family is not necessarily blood,” said Melanie Cruz Guzman, who’s going to Adelphi University in Garden City to study pre-dental as her dad took photos with great pride.
Xavier Franklin is going to study Computer Science at Nassau College. He said that even though he had attended Baldwin High School only for a short amount of time, he would take with him the friends he made along the way. Franklin was shy, but his mother encouraged him to speak up and smile for pictures.
Likewise, Jada McKee’s parents urged her to share her accomplishments with others, as she wore her Cornell University shirt like a badge of honor. McKee is going to study Biology, and she identified time management as her strength. She said Baldwin High School taught her how to strategize and prioritize within time limits, as she was “juggling five AP classes, sports, work, and other extracurriculars.”
Dante Sterling and Anthony “AJ” Vargas laughed in the stretch of grass by the DJ playing, “Shut Up and Dance with Me.” “The social aspects of the school are amazing. I met so many good people, so many interesting faces,” Sterling said without hesitation. Vargas echoed the sentiment, “I met a lot inspirational teachers, and I took a lot of meaningful classes, like Public Affairs and Intro to Media.” Sterling is attending Hunter College in NY city for a film degree and Vargas is headed to St. John’s University in Queens as an undeclared liberal art major.
Assistant Principal Dr. Ricky Papandrea noted that the car parade turnout was good. He said he hoped that the students learned grit and resilience, especially for this class that graduated during the coronavirus pandemic, “Dealing with multiple modes of learning and overcoming all the challenges that were put in front of them.” Senior class advisors Adeline Scibelli and Dawn Sherman also said that perseverance was of key importance for students to reach their goals.