‘Strong and Capable’ Morgan Class of 2020 Celebrated in Clinton
The Morgan School held its graduation on June 10 with families driving through campus, with a few stops for the graduate, and one for the graduate to accept their diploma and walk across the stage, as well as stop at the end to get a photo with the school mascot. Here, Kyle J. Suraci gathers his diploma. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Grads David and Michael ZIngarella pose for a photo with the Husky. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Ray Smith, Melissa Harris, Laura Martino, and Marc Ferace pose for a photo before cheering on the next student driving through. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Graduates and their families were greeted with as much pomp and circumstance as possible given social distancing requirements. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
It was a graduation day unlike any other in the history of The Morgan School. While there were no crowds and no speeches to sit through, not even a pandemic could stop the Morgan grads from getting their diplomas in their caps and gowns on June 10.
Students have been out of The Morgan School since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the area in mid-March. What initially looked only like a two-week hiatus from the building quickly turned into the rest of the school year.
In order to preserve at least one important senior year rite of passage, the school was able to hold a modified graduation ceremony. The ceremony took place throughout the day instead of at a set time, and was livestreamed so friends and family members beyond the graduate’s immediate family could view the ceremony.
Students were given a specific timeslot to show up at school, where they were able to receive their diplomas and get their photos taken by a professional photographer.
The ceremony at Morgan was just part of the festivities. Last week, the Clinton Town Council declared June 10 be Morgan School Senior Day and the town celebrated by “painting the town blue.” Blue ribbons adorned light posts and businesses as the seniors were led on a town-wide tour to celebrate their graduation.
One stop was to view a banner containing handprints of the entire graduating class at the library. Stops were then made at Cold Stone creamery and Chips’ Pub III before traveling down Leffingwell Road for a cheers and congratulations from residents on that road before riding down Main Street.
Instead of sitting in chairs on the football field and taking in the speeches like in year’s past, this year the speeches were prerecorded and are available to be viewed on YouTube.
Speeches were made by Assistant Principal Chris Luther, Class President Annalyse Olcott, Salutatorian Sydney Fratamico, Valedictorian Emma Farrell, Student Board of Education representatives Jena Kareliussen and Sarah Auletta, Town Council Chairman Chris Aniskovich, Board of Education Chairperson Erica Gelven, Superintendent of Schools Maryann O’Donnell, and Principal Keri Hagness.
The theme of the speeches was highlighting the challenges overcome by this class and the perseverance they showed in the face of the pandemic.
“Some may say our class is unlucky, but I choose to believe we are not unlucky. Instead, we are lucky to be able to prove ourselves strong and capable to handle any challenges in front of us,” said Farrell.
“We’ve all been given such an invaluable connection before the Class of 2020 goes their separate ways,” said Gelven.
“COVID 19 and its impacts will not stop you from reaching your true potential and experiencing success because this class has shown their character over the last four years,” said Hagness. “I’m certain this class won’t be defined by what you lost to this virus, but by how you responded to it.”
During her speech, Farrell summed up what many of her classmates were no doubt feeling.
“I would do just about anything to have one more day at Morgan,” she said, reminding her class of one more important fact: “Once a husky, always a husky.”
Find more about the The Morgan School Class of 2020, including photos, at the class’s special commemorative site Zip06.com/MHS2020.