In an unprecedented school year, Hicksville High School celebrated its graduating class in unprecedented style. The school conducted a virtual commencement ceremony to allow administrators, board members and student leaders to share special words of praise and inspiration with the Class of 2020, while also enabling the grads to safely step up and be acknowledged in person for their years of hard work.
On the morning of June 27, the district streamed a virtual high school commencement ceremony on its website, which kicked off with senior Jessie Kash performing a wonderful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The ceremony included addresses by Principal Ray Williams, Superintendent of Schools Marianne Litzman, board of education members Kevin Carroll and Carla Hoene—both proud parents of graduating seniors—and valedictorian Sejal Gupta and salutatorian Alaha Nasari.
Many of the messages touched on the events of the past several months of the pandemic, and how the senior class has shown extraordinary character and perseverance.
“As you all get older and more experienced at this thing called ‘life,’ you will realize the challenges you face in life will make you better, stronger and ready for challenges yet to come,” Williams said. “What doesn’t break you will make you. I am proud of you all.”
“We may not get to walk across a stage or experience all of the milestones of being seniors, but our accomplishments are still cause for celebration,” said Nasari, who acknowledged the great diversity and accomplishments of the class, while also thanking the entire faculty and staff for their support through the years. “I take incredible pride in graduating as a member of a class that has inspired me to embody my own intellectual capabilities,” she added.
In her valedictory address, Gupta gave fellow class members three valuable pieces of advice: create opportunities, invest time and make choices.
“Every difficult task takes time to turn the impossible into possible,” Gupta said, comparing the time she spent on her award-winning research project to various accomplishments others may achieve in the classroom, athletics, the arts and other areas.
“Explore many things,” she added, “then pick what you love and stick with it. Gupta also reminisced about the many special moments she and her classmates experienced through their years in the Hicksville schools.
Before introducing the Class of 2020, Litzman praised the class for living and thriving through some difficult moments in history.
“Your future—our future—is strong and hopeful because of the special character you have developed over the years, living and responding to every challenge thrown down before you,” Litzman said. “Thank you for enriching our lives with your smiles and perseverance. Embrace your new adventures with confidence. You have spent your early years building character that will hold you Hicksville strong every step of the way, no matter where you roam.”
After every graduate was honored in the presentation, Principal Williams officially declared the Class of 2020 graduates. Go to https://hicksville-hs.stageclip.com/ to view the virtual commencement.
Later in the day, every graduate had an opportunity to drive onto campus, step out of their cars and safely receive their diploma holders and personal congratulations from Carroll, Board of Education President Phil Heckler, Hoene, Litzman, Williams and others.
As a special reflection of their time in the district, replica models of each elementary school, Hicksville Middle School and Hicksville High School—created by Student Government members, student volunteers, alumni and faculty under the direction of teacher and advisor Catherine Temps—were on display as the grads drove through the high school grounds.
Congratulations to the Hicksville High School Class of 2020 for making your community, your families and your schools very proud.
—Submitted by the Hicksville School District