It was a time of new beginnings as the 202 graduates from Shoreham-Wading River High School’s Class of 2020 walked onto the football field during the school’s 44th commencement exercises, held in four separate socially distant ceremonies on June 26 and June 27.
Principal Mr. Frank Pugliese welcomed everyone before he led the students and their families in the Pledge of Allegiance, senior Raymond Colon followed and sang the national anthem assisted by American Sign Language interpreters, seniors Gianna De Luca, Abigail Korzekwinski and Alyson Mallon.
In his opening address, Mr. Pugliese cited his pride in the community and thanked the Board of Education, educators, administrators, staff and parents for coming together to make the event possible and thanked the graduates for all the amazing memories of the Class of 2020. Assistant Principal Mr. John Holownia then introduced salutatorian Stephanie Searing, who reflected on the friendships created, the shared memories and lifelong bonds and wished her classmates success in the future.
Senior Nicolette Tingo sang “People” from Funny Girl before guidance counselor Ms. Lucy Eschbach introduced valedictorian Jacqueline Holden, whose Words of Farewell thanked those who supported her efforts throughout her academic career. Jacqueline said she would miss the school community and cherished the atmosphere of the high school.
Wildcat Athletic Club President Mr. Edward Troyano then presented the club’s annual commemorative coin before Superintendent of Schools Mr. Gerard Poole stepped up to the podium to address the students and lauded them for their academic, artistic and athletic accomplishments and words of optimism for their future.
Mr. Pugliese then recognized eight members of the class who had enlisted in the country’s military and made mention of graduate Adam Zelin for his perfect attendance throughout his K-12 academic career. Teachers Mrs. Mary Hygom and Mr. Jason Malvagno served as lectors as each student was called to the podium to pick up their diploma.
Mr. Pugliese then addressed the graduates again and quoted A.A. Milne’s “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think,” before congratulating the graduates on this milestone.