In what was an unprecedented year – the COVID-19 virus forced schools closed in mid-March and all students began to learn virtually – the Class of 2020 got to say goodbye to the building that has been vacant of students for 12 weeks.
Unlike the traditional SG graduation, in the pomp and circumstance of Proctor’s Theater, Saturday’s ceremony involved parents dropping students off the walk from the side parking lot across the front of the building to a stage set up under the front door cover. The parents then drove to the front of the building to take pictures when their student was up on the stage.
This was the 112th Scotia-Glenville commencement. There were 182 diploma recipients.
Teachers lined the walkway – covered with chalk artwork done by students on Friday – to cheer students as they walked in front of the building. The ceremony began with the traditional bagpipe melodies.
Students wore masks, with some removing them on the stage for photos.
- The ceremony was broadcast on Facebook live. The video was viewed by more than 19,200 people as of Saturday afternoon.
- Speeches, award recognitions and other graduation-related items were included in this virtual ceremony, broadcast from Proctor’s.
- Congratulations to S-G’s 21 Academic Medal Honor recipients.
- Here’s the program, with the award winners listed.
Principal Peter Bednarek announced the names of the graduates. As the student walked up on stage, Board of Education President David Bucciferro handed the student their diploma. Then the student would pause on stage for a picture with Bucciferro and Superintendent Susan Swartz.
After leaving the stage, all students were given a Tartans 2020 candy bar, provided by Bednarek; a goodie bag with a gift card to Dairy Circus and other nuggets; and a bag of cookies baked by graduate Julian Vadney and her mom (thanks to all who contributed to these student gifts!). They were also given the picture sign of themselves provided by the PTSA.
Speaker Madeline Durant, an avid runner, discussed the trails and challenges of being a runner in her speech, “You Can Always Get Up From A Fall.”
“Coronavirus took us out of school right as all the fun of being a senior was scheduled to begin,” she said. “This in itself is a tragic turn of events, but others worldwide have lost much more than an in-person graduation ceremony or a senior prom. It is strange to remember that the same pandemic which claimed four months of our fun events has also claimed thousands of lives and livelihoods. It is important for us to take into consideration the struggles of others while still continuing with our own lives.”
“This virus may be a hurdle in our life, holding up much of what was important to us and ending or shortening our season, but it will eventually pass. This means that when the time comes we will move on to college, positions in various branches of the military, or successful careers in fields of our choosing. We will never regain the experience of a senior prom or an in-person high school graduation, however we will be comforted by the knowledge that we have three years of high school memories to look back upon with happiness.”
“You may be tired of hearing everyone tell you that you are a part of a graduating class that is making history, but it’s true. Our class will be remembered as an example of perseverance and resilience. Those in the future will look back on this time in history and remark on our class’ ability to triumph after such a struggle. We are a class that will take these experiences and learn from them.”
In her speech, “Elemental,” speaker Caroline Rooney discusses elements and how they bond together to create things, like oxygen, hydrogen and, ultimately, water.
“The class of 2020 is a pretty large concept. There are thousands of high schools graduating a class this year – not to mention the colleges and universities that have graduates as well. However don’t let this thought overwhelm you…we are the ONLY graduating class of 2020 from Scotia-Glenville High School. There have been many classes before us and many will come after…but WE are an unrepeatable and entirely distinctive mixture of people that have culminated in our larger class of 2020.”
“The last definition of an element is a small but defining piece of something abstract. Each of us makes up a small but defining part of our class in whole. Each one of us bonded to each other differently. Classmates, friends, teammates, music stand partners, the people you sat next to in homeroom. Without each and every one of us…our class would not be what we are today. Each one of us brings something new and different to the group as a whole.”
“Not only does each one of us make up a unique part of the graduating class, but our class has been in the midst of an entirely unique situation since we last left the high school on March 13th. The COVID 19 pandemic will go down in the history books there is no question… but the class of 2020 will as well.”
“However you feel about it…the fact that WE did not have the last part of our senior year has bonded us together…as the class of 2020…as a small but defining part of a larger whole.”
“So today, I ask that we not forget those who have been elemental to us…to not forget all that has happened to us over the last four years… but to take it in stride…the good and the bad, the triumphs and the losses. To move forward and to choose to be happy for what was…instead of being sad for what was not will be elemental to the health and healing of our world going forward.”
Here are a few photos from today.