It may not have been the ceremony they had envisioned when picturing their graduation, but the High School West Class of 2020 still had a chance to celebrate their accomplishments in smaller, more intimate commencement exercises on July 21 and 22. During the two-day period, the school held eight small ceremonies to keep to social distancing limitations. Two guests were permitted to accompany each graduate on the football field.
As the graduates marched onto the field to “Pomp and Circumstance,” they were greeted by their guests who were seated on the field with them. After High School West Principal John Coady welcomed the graduates and their families, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mark Secaur addressed the students. “Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties,” he said. “We know that success depends on our individual and collective ability to recover from difficult situations. This ability will allow you to confidently address adversity in future settings.”
Honor speaker Luke Muratore spoke to his classmates about their resilience during the pandemic and how they rose above as a class together. “We, the Smithtown West Class of 2020, are the class known for strength and adversity rather than social media trends and senior pranks,” he said. “The class known for our unique celebrations rather traditional senior perks. We have gone through the worst of a global pandemic. We are about to enter a world completely different than the one we are comfortable with. If we enter it fearless and willing to learn about and from each other, we will better ourselves and thrive in the everchanging world around us.”
Senior class president Meghan Deery addressed the Class of 2020 and spoke about their West side pride. “During this pandemic, we saw the saying ‘Smithtown Strong’ come to fruition; our powerful sense of community has proven to guide us during times of tragedy and loss,” she said. “Our displays of altruism lessened those fears of worry and danger. Throughout this hardship, we have learned to manage worry and not let it consume us. We worried about prom and panicked about graduation but in the end, this worry was crushed by positivity and love. This ceremony may not have been exactly what we expected, but it’s special in its own way. We made it through the worst together but we have only grown stronger. We know how to overcome. We do it with pride and support. We do it with positivity and love.”
The last four months have undoubtedly been a challenge for the senior class, said Mr. Coady, but they have shown their true strength during this time. “The close of your career at Smithtown has been a turbulent time with much sadness and loss,” he said. “During the last four months, we have seen the amazing true character of our student body. You have gone above and beyond to help others during this pandemic and we are so proud of you. You are a special group who will always have a special place in the history of Smithtown West.”
Mr. Coady then called each senior to the podium to be announced and receive their diploma. After each name was called, the students turned their tassels from right to left and celebrated their official graduation from High School West.