by Dave Warner

The 2020 graduation for the seniors started out early in the morning with a rehearsal, instructions, photos, and guest speakers, and ended when the last of the students officially graduated just after 8 pm.

After the morning practice session and parade through town, the first group of graduates gathered at the high school at 4:30 pm.

Once the ceremony started, principal Leeann Dooley said, “so here we are. I don’t know about all of you, but I didn’t think that we would get to this point, to be honest.”

She went on to say that planning this graduation ceremony “was like hitting a moving target, while riding a horse backward, blindfolded with my hair on fire. That’s what graduation preparation was like.”

“We’re here, to celebrate all of you. I’m so very proud of all of you. This is the time for you to shine, families to celebrate you, and for your community to honor you,” she stated.

Mr. Joseph Morotti was one of the commencement speakers in the morning dry run and he said, “before I even get going, I wanted to let you know how awesome you are. You are probably the strongest individuals that I’ve met in 33 years of teaching.”

Mr. Samuel Salamone was also a commencement speaker in the morning and he spoke about how much he missed seeing the students in person. “That was the hardest part of remote education. It was all hard, but being away from you was the hardest.”

Another commencement speaker in the morning was Mr. Andrew Casullo, who said, “it’s an absolute honor to be here with you celebrating your tremendous accomplishments.” He went on to say that clearly, today’s circumstances are not normal.

“I think it’s time that we accept the fact that yesterday’s normal is past. It’s time we change our perspective,” he stated.

Mrs. Marie Oriolo, the final commencement speaker said, “once the four of us agreed to speak at graduation, we were instructed to be brief, so we worked together to ensure that all the speakers for the class of 2020 complimented each other.”

“I wanted to speak about only the positives, but how do I accomplish that attempting to ignore the elephant in the room? I cannot, so I will have to include said elephant.”

She talked about the missed experiences the students had counted on, had looked forward to, and had waited to experience for four years. “They did not occur, but Martin Luther King said, ‘we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope’, and here you sit today, ready for graduation.

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The graduation program and photos are below: