Pomp and Circumstance 2008, Irvington High School

In Irvington High School, 85 percent of the 171 seniors who will graduate on Saturday are headed to a four-year college. Ten percent are either still waiting for an acceptance or it’s unknown, and 5 percent have some other plans for the future. Meanwhile, all of the seniors are busy finishing up their internships, which began after the students finished their A.P. exams.

Jina Hamad decided on his own that he’d like to take one year off from his formal studies to join the Oceaner Leadership Team in New Zealand, where he’ll do some fund-raising and then travel to Pacific islands such as the Solomon Islands and Samoa. On those islands, he’ll help residents clean and fix things in construction projects and he’ll hold seminars on topics such as AIDS prevention.

"I didn’t want to go straight into college," Hamad said in an interview last week. Before heading out to New Zealand, Hamad will spend the summer in the Dominican Republic, where he’ll also perform volunteer work. His goal, he said, is not just money. Rather, it’s to be a "productive" member of society, to have fun and to meet new people.

"I think they prepared me very well," Hamad said, referring to Irvington High School.

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Top: Erin Dawson
Middle: Jina Hamad
Bottom: Isabel Kleber

He particularly enjoyed his recent internship, where he performed office work and manual labor for the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in New York City. As for Irvington High School, Hamad said he’ll miss his friendships.

Meanwhile, Erin Dawson’s internship was a bit closer to home. For four weeks, she helped out Irvington High School Band Director Larry Corio.

"It’s what I want to do," Dawson said. Her main instruments are the euphonium and trombone, "but I can read all brass, and I can play it if I want." During her four weeks, she learned all the woodwind and percussion instruments, and she helped Corio organize the band trip for next year.

In the fall, Dawson is heading off to the University of Rhode Island, where she’ll major in music education. She acknowledges that some of her peers can’t wait to leave Irvington High School.

"I don’t really feel that way," she said, adding that she’s had great teachers, and she’ll particularly miss the band program. She won’t miss the crowded hallways, she said.

And finally, Irvington High School senior Isabel Kleber is off to study in the film program at New York University (NYU).

"I fell in love with it four years ago," Kleber said. That was when she attended the New York Film Academy over the summer. Her expertise is working with the cameras, particularly with 15-millimeter film.

Her internship has included a number of things. She works at the restaurant, Blockheads, in New York City. She’s also worked as the production manager on the short film of her friend who attends the University of Chicago. And, in a couple of weeks, she’ll be working with Jane Wells, the founder of Three Generations, an organization that honors those who died as a result of genocide. Kleber brought Wells to speak about the documentary, "The Devil Came on Horseback," at an assembly in the high school. The documentary is about the genocide in Darfur. Kleber plans to help Wells organize her library of documentaries.

Kleber said Irvington High School has helped her with time management and she’ll miss her close relationships with her teachers. She won’t miss her math and science classes.

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About the Author: Brett Freeman