They survived a year with so many twists and turns and so many ups and downs, Massapequa High School Principal Barbara Lowell said of this year’s graduating class during an outdoor ceremony at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium on June 21. Lowell, herself a Massapequa alumna, praised the 546 members of the Class of 2021 for their courage and perseverance.
“Our seniors did not let it stop them,” she said of the disruptions caused by the global pandemic. “They were able to complete their 13 years in Massapequa Public Schools with grace and success.”
The venue allowed for an in-person ceremony, with guests spread out throughout the large seating areas which lined three sides of the field. Graduates sat socially distanced but without masks so the smiles were visible.
Lowell noted that she first met this highly talented group of students several years ago, when they were seventh graders and she was an administrator at Berner Middle School. Almost six years later, they are officially alumni of a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
One of the talents of valedictorian and senior class President Jack Devenish is music, so he compared the journey through high school to starting up a world-famous music group with friends. Freshman year was getting together to play in someone’s basement, while senior year was finally finishing up that album. Any like any music career, there were some bumps along the way.
“No matter what,” he told his fellow graduates, “there will always be an audience and a fanbase. There’s a whole world ready to support you in your dream, no matter how big or small. All you have to do is chase it.”
Salutatorian Devin DiMascio reflected on the lessons learned during the pandemic. At the top of the list, she said, are selflessness and empathy.
“The pandemic taught a very clear lesson about this,” she said. “At its worst points, we took measures to not only prevent ourselves from getting sick but to keep others safe as well, whether it be a close family member or a stranger at the grocery store. I hope that this value will stick with our generation as we grow older. This extra consideration of the ways in which our actions affect others is a crucial step in making the world a kinder place.”
General Organization President Delia O’Farrell noted that no person achieves success on their own, so she took a few moments to thank those who have supported the Class of 2021, including their families, friends, teachers and administrators. She, too, reflected on the challenges of the past year and a half and how her class overcame those obstacles individually and collectively.
“If there’s one thing I see in the Class of 2021, it’s strength,” Delia said. “We took this school year on and made it our own. The Class of 2021 is strong. The Class of 2021 does not give up.”
-Submitted by the Massapequa School District