It was an Abington High School graduation like no other. But it brought some closure to the Class of 2020, which went home on March 12 and never returned to school.
“Although the circumstances of this ceremony are not ideal, we are still able to celebrate and recognize our many years of hard work,” Class of 2020 President Daisy Littlefield told her fellow graduates. “This goes to show the Class of 2020 can really overcome anything, even if anything includes a global pandemic.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Abington High School graduation took place on a Saturday in August instead of a Saturday in June. Seniors were seated between two guests of their choice, with each group spaced at least six feet away from another group on the front lawn of the high school. There were no congratulatory handshakes from school administrators, everyone was wearing face coverings, and the ceremony was closed to the general public.
But each senior was able to cross the symbolic stage with diploma in hand, pose for a photo, and retake their seat as a fully accredited graduate of the Abington Public Schools.
“Thank you for coming. We all needed this,” said Dr. Theresa Sullivan, Abington High School’s principal who is retiring.
Littlefield quoted Henry David Thoreau while encouraging her classmates to make sure high school wasn’t the best years of their lives.
“‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined’,” she said, echoing the poet’s famous words. “I hope you all will be able to live out your dreams to the absolute fullest and enjoy every second of it.”
Sullivan reminded seniors they started the year with the slogan “Be here, be you, belong” as a way to encourage students to reject stereotypes and show courage in confronting biases.
“I am asking you to be brave to not only dismiss stereotypical biases but to fight against them, and build and live a life that encourages and nurtures inclusion. Resist the behavior that separates and marginalizes people. Build bridges to belonging,” she said. “To do this you must be brave. I sincerely hope your experience here in Abington Public Schools has given you the strength to be brave.”
Abington Schools Superintendent Peter Schafer started his remarks by recognizing Sullivan, who is retiring after 35 years as an educator.
“The community and the students here have benefited from her energy, her skills, her leadership, her passion,” he said. “She brings it every single day to Abington.”
To the Class of 2020, Schafer quoted from the Wiliam Ernst Henley poem Invictus, which was a favorite of Nelson Mandela’s while he was imprisoned, as well as the Elbert Hubbard essay “A Message to Garcia,” which celebrates personal fortitude in carrying out a difficult task.
“Class of 2020, you are facing challenges that most other generations have not and we are sorry, yet we cannot change that,” he said. “No matter what comes, I want you to be the masters of your fate, captains of your soul, and for each of you, a person who can carry a message to Garcia.”
The ceremony can be viewed on the Abington Community Access & Media Educational Channel and YouTube page.
The Abington HIgh School Class of 2020:
Jonathan Patrick Aiello, Erielle Maxine Almonte Amboy, João Carlos Alves Andrade, Lucas Anthony Araujo, Colby Bruce Augusta, Brandon Michael Ball-Chaney, Jacob Michael Bennett, Anna Nicole Blyth, Aidan Mcgregor Buckley, Brooke Ann Callanan, Kerry Lynn Cardinal, Hailey Marie Catrambone, Emily Anne Christian, Sara Michele Christian, Colby Blake Chryssicas, Allison Theresa Clark, Jarae Nessi Cole, Jarib Shaddi Cole, David Jacobs Collings, Alexis Marie Connors, Haley Rose Cooper, Cameron Jared Curney, André Junio Mendes Da Silva, Keriann Elizabeth Danahy, Emily Mary Dankese, Linda Cecelia Maria Daye, Roman Alexander Phillippi Joseph DeBono, Kyle Steve DeGrenier, Kirstyn Elizabeth Deschamps, Matthew P. Desouza, Colleen Elizabeth Dever, Bryan Felice Dias, Haven Gloria DiMambro, Victoria Elizabeth Donahue, David John Edwards, Jason M. Ercolano, Emmalee Elisabeth Ezzell, Jessica Nicole Ferraro, Thomas Robert Furness, Charles Michael Gendreau, Rohith Ghose, Declan Edward Hamill, John Paul Hawkesworth, Maria Livia Henriques, Maximus Douglas Humberd, Samantha Ann Johnson, Michaela Janet Louise Kane, Lauren Geraldine Keleher, William Albert Kelin, Sean Tyler Landers, Kayla Fawn Larkin, Alexander Ross LaRosa, Andrew Dennis Lee, Hannah Dorothy Liebke, Daisy Evelyn Littlefield, Mikayla Rose Littman, Olivia Joy Litzenberger, Abbie Marie Lyons, Leo Russell Magnasco, Corin Elizabeth Mahan, Grace Charlotte Marcotte, Marguerite Barry Mayer-Ehrstein, Talia Ann McAuliffe, Meagan Rose McCadden, Joseph Michael McCarthy, Alexis Rose McColgan, Erin Marie McDermott, Colin Richard McDonald, John Matthew Meegan, Isabella Miele, Robert Francis John Molloy IV, Sean Patrick Moran, John Liam Mueller, Miryam Naidjate, Kessya Candida Nascimento, Shaam Nasser, Katelyn Grace Nelligan, Amy Nhat Iyen Nguyen, Reid Michael Norton, Trinity Joy O’Connor, Grace Marie O’Donnell, Abigail Kathleen Odell, Tanner Colin Partington, Arlene Lizzeth Perez, Seana Michelle Phillips, Stephen Thomas Pizzi, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Polito, Dylan Nicholas Regan, Richard Charles Reissfelder III, Kostantinos Retzos, Ailey Riddick, Manda Riddick, Jessica Mackenzie Rix, Kylie Krystina Roberts, Lyndsie Nicole Roberts, Andrew Gary Roy, Connor Thomas Saccoach, Kathryn Lucy Sage, Séamus Schmidt, Vianne Wei Shao, Talita Judy Smith, Gabriel Scot Spry, Victoria Josephine Stockbridge, Robert White Tashjian, Brade James-Michael Therrien, Kayli Marie Tobin, Colten Joseph Trainor, Sophia Michelle Villano, Jared Lawrence Wark, Julie Ann Warsheski, Connor James Whidden, Kristen Barbara White, Andrew James Wilson, Liberty Looney Woods, Michael Clayton Worden, Gretchen Marie Wronski, and Yazan Ala Zaidan.
Abington High School Class of 2020 Awards and Scholarships