Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School celebrated the successes of the Class of 2020 with three commencement ceremonies held on the school’s football field on June 26.
Proudly donning their caps and gowns, students marched onto the field to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Senior Class President Nicole Hernandez led the Pledge of Allegiance before Board of Education President Brian Sales offered his words of congratulations on behalf of the board.
“Remember that your life today is a result of your attitudes and choices in the past; your life tomorrow will be results of your attitudes and choices you make today and every day moving forward,” he said. “Be a lifelong learner. Learning creates opportunities and knowledge is power.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon addressed the soon-to-be graduates and reflected on their time in Copiague. “The Class of 2020 is the class we will always remember,” she said. “You left school on March 13 thinking you were going home for the weekend. Never at anticipating that today would be the next time you came back to school. When I think about this graduating class, I think about all the wonderful accomplishments you’ve had during your years at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. You’ve excelled in the classrooms, on the field, on the stage and everywhere in between. You’ve certainly left an indelible mark on the high school. You’re to be commended for all the positive energy, effort, flexibility and dedication you put into everything you’ve accomplished while you were here."
Salutatorian Marvin Pineda Lobo offered his classmates a few words of advice for the next chapter in their lives.
“In a life of striving to achieve success, I hope that along the way you leave an impact on the lives of those around you,” he said. “Work toward being better than you were yesterday and the day before. If you’re going to do something make sure to do it well. What is it that you look forward to, up to, and work to achieve? I’m not sure where you’ve all come from, or where you’ll go next; you all have your own story and individual paths, but what I do know is that this moment in time will live on. It’s history. To the Class of 2020: congratulations, you’ve made it to this point. Keep going, and remember no matter what you’re going through, how dark it may get, and just how badly you want to give up, you are never out of the fight.”
Valedictorian Melanie Garcia reflected on the past, present and future for the graduating class.
“The past holds our mistakes, growth, but also memorable moments,” she said. “We all entered high school with the very same goal: graduating. After finally graduating, some of us will want to forget their past here, but I urge you all not to forget your roots. The present is the only moment we can modify with our actions and decisions. At the moment, we are experiencing a global change caused by a pandemic. For us to secure a peaceful future, the actions we perform in the present must send a clear statement, one that emphasizes the change that must occur in order for this world to be just. The idea of the future brings upon goals we wish to accomplish, dreams we wish to become reality, and the hope to live in a kind world. Class of 2020, I encourage you to be as memorable as this year has been so far. Leave evidence that you existed; be on the right side of history and make a change that is unforgettable. Work together to bring this change, because it is us who have the ability to transform things for the better.”
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Principal Joseph Agosta addressed the Class of 2020 and encouraged them to always strive for excellence.
“I’m sure it is hard to believe that 13 years have passed since you first stepped foot on the pathway to learning,” he said. “Each step of the way has presented a variety of opportunities for growth by meeting challenges, overcoming adversities and celebrating successes. The goal of that journey was to bring you to the point where you are standing today. The threshold of a much broader path called life. When you look back and reflect upon your years, I hope you notice that you have been supported by loving family, caring and dedicated teachers and administrators, a board of education focused on providing you with the skills needed to help you reach your potential, stand on your own and take your place as productive world citizens. Looking forward, much is expected of you and I have great confidence in your abilities. This year, we have all been faced with many challenges, but those challenges are actually what you unites us in many ways. As you move on in life, remember the values, pride and sense of community that each member of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School staff has worked hard to provide. As you continue forward on your journey, I hope that you look back on your years in high school with fond memories. I charge you with the task of putting what you have learned to good use and to be a positive force in your community.”
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Assistant Principal Tamika Eason and director of guidance James McCabe called out the names of each graduate as they made their way to the stage. After all the names were announced, Mr. Agosta instructed the students to move their tassels to signify their official graduation. Students then tossed their caps high in the air and marched off the field.
To access the three ceremonies, visit this link.