Twenty-nine students received certificates of graduation. College-bound students of the Class of 2012 were accepted to more than 40 colleges and universities—each was accepted to his or her first or second choice schools. The Lewis graduates were awarded nearly $2 million in scholarship funding over the next four years.
This year’s distinguished guest speaker was former parent and Oscar winning songwriter Franke Previte. Mr. Previte co-wrote the music for the hit soundtrack “Dirty Dancing” in 1987. The song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” earned him an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 1998 as well as a Grammy nomination. He wrote the second hit single “Hungry Eyes” from the soundtrack as well.
Mr. Previte is a former Lewis School parent. His son, Evon, is an alumnus of Lewis and currently attends Wagner University where he is a member of the Wagner Seahawks baseball team and has steadily held a 3.8 grade point average. Franke Previte’s heartfelt speech delivered a loud and clear message, he said, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or live out your dream just because you’re dyslexic. If I had listened to that, I wouldn’t have this!” as he lifted his Academy Award up above his head.
Franke Previte is a composer who grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was a founding member of the New Jersey rock quintet Franke and the Knockouts as both a singer and songwriter. The group was signed by Millennium Records in 1981 and had three U.S. Top 40 singles and two Top 50 albums. Its biggest single, “Sweetheart”, was written by Previte and Knockout guitarist Billy Elworthy and became a Top 10 hit in 1981.
Mr. Previte has been working on the Broadway-bound stage musical for “Dirty Dancing”. He continues to raise money for pancreatic cancer charities in memory of his friend, Patrick Swayze.