Kevin Spacey Comes to Queens, Fails to Impress H.S. Kids

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Spacey, Bennett, and Bennett's wife, the school's assistant principal, yesterday. Photo: Dominick Totino Photography


When we graduated from high school, our commencement speaker was the valedictorian, a science geek bound for Georgetown who quoted Hamlet's "to thine own self be true." At the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria yesterday, departing seniors heard from Kevin Spacey — and got a visit from Tony Bennett, the native Astorian who co-founded the school through his nonprofit Exploring the Arts. (Clearly, the Sinatra students trump us, if simply on name-drop points alone.) So what did Spacey have to say? There were a few moments of what appeared to be true earnestness in his sonorously delivered speech; he told the kids to “take care of each other” and “recognize that none of us [attain success] alone.” But his shit-eating irony seemed to be intact. “I’m honored to be looking out at all of you fresh-faced graduates,” he intoned at one point. “You should all feel proud and elated, even if you squeaked by like me.” His tone wasn’t lost on the savvy grads. No sooner had Spacey said, “I want to focus today … on friends,” virtually the entire Frank Sinatra Class of 2007 chorused a big, sappy, sarcastic “Awwwwww!” Spacey was no doubt proud. —Tim Murphy