BHS Class of 2020 to Brace Significant Challenges Ahead

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The Bellport High School Class of 2020 embraced and overcame the limits of social-distancing in a pandemic era to celebrate an important milestone in their educational careers during the annual commencement ceremonies, held on June 25. Prior to the ceremony, the police and fire departments escorted students, parents and family as they drove through the middle of Bellport Village from Bellport Middle School to the high school grounds where they were greeted by the administration and members of the Board of Education. If a student was unable to drive, Lyft donated transportation services so that every student was able to participate in this exciting event.

“Pomp and Circumstance” was played over the PA system as Bellport Security assisted each car with parking. Although required to remain in their cars during the ceremony, students could watch the ceremony, which was livestreamed on a movie screen, and listen to the ceremony live on 94.9 FM radio. After Assistant Principal Erika Della Rosa welcomed the students, Student Council President Carly Diolosa led the salute to the flag.

During her introductory comments, Carly explained that the obstacles the Class of 2020 experienced will be chronicled in history books and gave important advice to her peers. “Your achievements in life should not be measured by the car you drive or the job you have, but by the impact you have on others’ lives, the kindness you share and the values you reflect into the atmosphere.”

Principal Timothy Hogan, in acknowledgement of challenges faced by the pandemic and social injustice reforms, he told the students that significant challenges are ahead. “We must continue to work collectively in developing new models and new initiatives to navigate this ever changing environment,” he said.

Essayist Audrey Barry, whose task was to talk about the memories of the past, said she sometimes finds herself wanting to go back to a sense of familiarity and comfort. She encouraged peers to, take the good times of your past and use them to motivate your present.”

Natalia Jordan spoke about presence in her salutatory address. “In today’s society, the present is our tool to construct the future. Thus, it is imperative to not only be aware of a current crisis but also be involved in the action to create a better future.”

During the valedictorian address, Ali Dennis Guillermo Jr. told peers that the path to success does not have to be travelled alone and relationships made can help foster success. He attributed his path to success to his recently deceased father and deceased friend R.J. “After being made valedictorian, there were 10 seconds where I was completely ecstatic that my hard work had paid off. But there had to be an 11th second, right?” Ali said. “In that 11th second, I remembered what had gotten me this far. It was the motivation and influence of both RJ and my father. It was a motivation that could not be ignored.”

After the celebratory speeches, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani certified the diplomas and announced that the seniors had completed the requirements for graduation. Board president E. Anne Hayes then led the students in the traditional moving of the tassel, symbolizing that the seniors were now alumni of the South Country Central School District.

After a brief fireworks show by Grucci Fireworks, the students and their guests then proceeded to the front of the high school where they received their diplomas and had the opportunity to take a graduation photo.