It was a beautiful day for the Carle Place School District, as 111 students of the Class of 2020 filled the Middle-High School football field for the 64th annual commencement graduation ceremony on June 26.
Those attending the ceremony included board of education members, administration, staff, family and friends. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony followed New York State guidelines and limited to the amount of people in attendance to ensure public safety.
The ceremony kicked off with the “National Anthem,” which was sung by students Sydney Eichel, Juliana Ferolie, Angela Ruggiano, and Kristina Yim.
Graduates then heard from several speakers who shared their wisdom and words of motivation for their new journey. This included Principal Thomas DePaola, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Finn, Board of Education President John DiFrisco, valedictorian Sophia Gregorace, salutatorian Lauren Basso, Class of 2020 President Francesca Venezia and a recorded speech from Student Organization President Maximillian Buck.
Principal DePaola expressed that the challenges he faced as principal during these past several months gave him the opportunity to appreciate the significance of the two self-identifying Carle Place terms: compassion and passion. Throughout his speech he listed several examples of how the district community demonstrated these words.
“It was evidence to me by our dedicated teachers who embraced a new way of instructing, learning, evaluating and connecting with the students: Passion,” he said. “Psychologists, social, workers, school counselors and administrators working with students who faced more than technical difficulties: Compassion.”
In her speech, Dr. Finn curated a playlist for the Class of 2020, in hopes that these songs will remind them of their childhood dreams, help them appreciate the world they live in and to keep learning, help them overcome challenges and remind them to celebrate being imperfect. These songs included, Lonestar’s “I’m Already There,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem,” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.”
“I hope that after you listen to all of these songs, you will create your own playlist to remind you of your time here and to fortify you for what comes after,” Dr. Finn continued. “To the perfectly imperfect class of perfectly imperfect 2020, I wish you impeccable, flawless, unblemished and perfect joy and luck as you transition into the compassionate and passionate individuals I know you to be. Best of luck to the Class of 2020 and congratulations.”
While receiving their diplomas, the Carle Place Middle-High School Class of 2020 turned the tassels on their caps from right to left before returning to their seats. The ceremony completed with the students tossing their caps in the air to celebrate their accomplishments.
—Submitted by the Carle Place School District