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Greeley's Class Of 2015 Graduates, Including Seven Valedictorians

A Horace Greeley class of 2015 member poses for photos before the start of commencement.
A Horace Greeley class of 2015 member poses for photos before the start of commencement. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Members of Horace Greeley High School's class of 2015 walk to their graduation tent.
Members of Horace Greeley High School's class of 2015 walk to their graduation tent. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Guests line up for photo opportunities.
Guests line up for photo opportunities. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Divya Gopinath gives her speech.
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Divya Gopinath gives her speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Amanda Rota gives her speech.
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Amanda Rota gives her speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Riya Verma takes a selfie just before her speech.
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Riya Verma takes a selfie just before her speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Riya Verma gives her speech.
Horace Greeley Co-Valedictorian Riya Verma gives her speech.
Jennifer Semler, a Horace Greeley co-valedictorian, speaks on behalf of the Senior Leadership Council.
Jennifer Semler, a Horace Greeley co-valedictorian, speaks on behalf of the Senior Leadership Council. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Student Council President Dev Jhaveri gives his speech.
Horace Greeley Student Council President Dev Jhaveri gives his speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Chappaqua Schools Superintendent Lyn McKay gives her speech.
Chappaqua Schools Superintendent Lyn McKay gives her speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Chappaqua school board member Victoria Tipp gives her speech.
Chappaqua school board member Victoria Tipp gives her speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Principal Robert Rhodes gives his speech.
Horace Greeley Principal Robert Rhodes gives his speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
An evening downpour, pictured, failed to stop Horace Greeley's graduation ceremony.
An evening downpour, pictured, failed to stop Horace Greeley's graduation ceremony. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley Assistant Principal Andrew Corsilia gives his speech.
Horace Greeley Assistant Principal Andrew Corsilia gives his speech. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A newly minted Horace Greeley graduate shakes hands with school board member Victoria Tipp.
A newly minted Horace Greeley graduate shakes hands with school board member Victoria Tipp. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Chappaqua school board member Jeffrey Mester hugs his son, AJ, as he gets his diploma.
Chappaqua school board member Jeffrey Mester hugs his son, AJ, as he gets his diploma. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Chappaqua school board member Victoria Tipp hugs her daughter, Madeleine, as she collects her diploma.
Chappaqua school board member Victoria Tipp hugs her daughter, Madeleine, as she collects her diploma. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Former Chappaqua school board member Janet Benton hugs her son, Michael as he gets his diploma.
Former Chappaqua school board member Janet Benton hugs her son, Michael as he gets his diploma. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Horace Greeley's newly minted graduates throw their caps in the air as commencement ends.
Horace Greeley's newly minted graduates throw their caps in the air as commencement ends. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Sunshine greeted people as they left the tent following Horace Greeley's 2015 commencement.
Sunshine greeted people as they left the tent following Horace Greeley's 2015 commencement. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- An evening downpour failed to stop Horace Greeley High School's 84th annual graduation on Sunday, as speakers carried on despite the inclement weather.

Attendees entered the ceremony's tent amid sunny weather; sunshine returned once the ceremony ended and as people exited.

This year's graduation was unusual, as the class of 2015 included seven valedictorians and no salutatorian. The valedictorians were Jennifer Semler, Divya Gopinath, Amanda Rota, Elizabeth Hart, Bernadette Grant, Riya Verma and Michael Doppelt.

Of the seven valedictorians, only Gopinath, Rota and Verma delivered speeches. Assistant Principal Andrew Corsilia, who also served as class principal, noted that the three were selected by their fellow valedictorians.

Gopinath, whose speech placed an emphasis on questioning the status quo, was briefly interrupted when the storm peaked. Gopinath was able to finish and speech; the crowd repeatedly chanted her name and clapped before she did so.

Rota thanked her fellow students for years of time together.

“To all of my classmates, thanks for making these last 13 years so memorable.”

Rota's speech focused on fears of things, cited the ocean as her example. Striking a contrast, Rota concluded her speech by encouraging people to “jump into the oceans of our futures," adding to the class that she hopes they find their voices.

Verma, who took a selfie before starting her speech, recalled an anecdote of a fellow Greeley student giving her a ride home from the school's parking lot after she was unable to start her car. She cited her experience as a positive example of the school's community.

Semler still spoke, although in another capacity, as it was on behalf of the Student Leadership Council. In her speech, Semler praised the use of nicknames.

“They represent unique and personal relationships.”

Semler talked about how people go by their real names when they enter some place new, whether it is high school or, in looking ahead, to college.

“This class has done amazing things," said Dev Jhaveri, president of the Student Council.

School officials had plenty of praise for the graduates.

“You, the class of 2015 have left Greeley with a lot of spirit and richer for it," said Greeley Principal Robert Rhodes.

Chappaqua Schools Superintendent Lyn McKay noted the significance in life of getting feedback from people, whether it was a first-grader who called her "Mrs. Grandma" during a class visit or from responses she got for handling snow-day decisions.

The Chappaqua school board, meanwhile, broke with precedent. Traditionally, the board's president would deliver its speech. This year, the role went to board member Victoria Tipp, whose daughter was among the graduates.

Tipp recalled the various changes in life that the students have encountered.

“Through it all, you have thrived and succeeded as you expected, and sometimes life changed and you changed interests and directions in ways you did not expect.”

Tipp was one of three current and former board members with children in the graduating class. The others were current board member Jeffrey Mester and former board member Janet Benton, who served from 1999 to 2011. All three of them hugged their kids when they came on stage for their diplomas.

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