In these times of uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, it is no secret that events have been postponed or canceled. Everything from concerts, to plays, sporting events, and even weddings, as well as a myriad of other affairs have been put on hold in an effort to avoid the spread of the virus. One local event that required vast adjustment in its preparation and execution in the community is Hauppauge High School’s Senior Graduation. Despite the complications presented, the Class of 2020 did graduate, with some fun surprises along the way!
Through it all, graduation stayed at the forefront of concern for the school. HHS officials sought not only to make sure that the Class of 2020 graduated, but that they were celebrated for doing so. This recognition began with the hanging of each senior yearbook photo on the Hauppauge High School fence lining Lincoln Road. Following, came a beautiful Salute to Seniors in which each senior got a shout out with their future plans on the High School’s social media pages (linked below), as well as the large Hauppauge screen at the intersection of Townline Road and Route 111.
School administration then launched an initiative to create a video broadcast of graduation in the event that a physical one was implausible under New York guidelines. In order to achieve this, school officials scheduled various days for speakers, performers, and officials to record their respective portion of the affair. Then students were invited in small, distanced groups to come to the school to take photos in their cap and gown in various locations of the school, as well as be recorded crossing the stage as their name was called. This was then expertly and beautifully pieced together into a complete graduation, as it would have occurred in-person. The school also collected photos and written, sentimental, statements from the community, as well as aspects from the yearbook to create a website as a tribute for the Class of 2020. A survey was then released to gauge whether or not the class wanted to conduct a graduation on June 26th or reschedule an in-person graduation for July. The results yielded a postponement as the winner.
On June 26th, Hauppauge celebrated the Class of 2020 in many ways. First, they set up a drive-by for the seniors through the High School parking lots which were lined with faculty and teachers cheering and congratulating them. Then at midday, the district released a tribute website. Finally, at 6 PM the virtual graduation was released to be watched from home by seniors and their families. This virtual event was very well received by the community, especially by graduating seniors.
Class of 2020 Senior, Rose Recce, a participant in the Arts Program at Hauppauge and 2020 Graduation Singer shared: “Although this year has been so rough, our time for graduating has been bittersweet. I thought that with the pandemic, we wouldn’t have a chance for proper closure before moving on to college. Driving past years of teachers and staff (elementary, middle, and high school), and watching a beautifully put together video dedicated to the Class of 2020, I now feel that I’ve had a proper send off by Hauppauge High School. I am so thankful for the wonderful opportunities and experiences that Hauppauge has given us throughout the last four years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way”.
Class of 2020 Salutatorian Devin Capeece said in a statement for The Buzz: “Graduation this year, although it was nontraditional, was the best possible way to end off the four years of high school given the current circumstances. Despite our inability to meet in person, we were still able to come together to film segments of a normal graduation that culminated in a virtual version of one. Our school district’s administration did an amazing job orchestrating the video, and made sure that although we had missed out on the last three months of high school, us seniors could still feel as though we graduated properly.”
An in-person ceremony celebrating students enlisting in the armed forces was held this past Monday, July 29th. As of now, the in-person graduation is scheduled for July 24th with the rain date being July 31st. Despite these unprecedented times, Hauppauge High School Staff, Administrators, and Officials, came together to create the perfect send-off for the Class of 2020. A truly magnificent gift for a class who has certainly persevered.