Crest Hollow Country Club’s Grand Ballroom was filled with Nassau County’s most accomplished and brightest students during the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents’ annual Celebration of Excellence Breakfast.

During this cherished event, superintendents, principals and parents gathered to pay tribute to the Class of 2015’s valedictorians and salutatorians from 44 Nassau County school districts. The keynote speaker, New York University President Dr. John Sexton, told the students that they had “won the lottery” by being smart and gifted and possessing extraordinary talents.

“You have a great obligation to use your talents and to expand your great gift of intelligence,” he said.

NCCSS President Dr. Phyllis Harrington also expressed her confidence in the students’ will to succeed and encouraged them to be not only lifelong learners, but also kind and caring individuals. In addition, Dr. Deborah Wortham, the chairperson of the breakfast committee and emcee for the event, encouraged the students to dream big and “not lose sight of their own stories” and to make their own decisions. She encouraged parents and administrators to wrap their arms around their children to keep them safe from “dream stealers.” In the closing remarks, NCCSS President-Elect Dr. Lorna Lewis reminded the students to be mindful that everyone they encounter in life is important. 

Each valedictorian and salutatorian was presented with a plaque to commemorate his or her achievements. As they were acknowledged, the universities the students plan to attend were announced, along with their intended majors. This was a unique event in which the Class of 2015 valedictorians and salutatorians from Nassau County were honored together, marking a truly memorable occasion for all in attendance.