HONESDALE, PA — In the history of Honesdale High School (HHS) graduation ceremonies, the Class of 2020’s was likely the most unorthodox. As the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the …
HONESDALE, PA — In the history of Honesdale High School (HHS) graduation ceremonies, the Class of 2020’s was likely the most unorthodox. As the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the final three months of their in-person classes and canceled end-of-the-year traditions like prom and senior softball—the fate of this year’s seniors’ graduation was unclear for a while.
Wayne Highlands School District Superintendent Greg Frigoletto said that he spoke to the students and asked them what they wanted an alternative ceremony to look like: “There were a few things they could not do without. They wanted it to be on our campus, with our students and in our tradition,” he said.
And so, on Saturday, June 13, instead of the middle school gymnasium, HHS’s graduation took place in the high school parking lot. Instead of sitting together on a stage, the senior class remained socially distant, sitting in the seats of their cars. A stage was set up on the hill leading toward the football field. Speakers’ voices echoed throughout the parking lot, their faces projected on the screen of a jumbotron.
“This day is not what any one of the graduates of the class of 2020 had pictured,” said graduate Taylor Maxson. “This day has challenged us to look at the positive side of every situation because life is full of celebration but also adversity.”
The next speaker, Jacob VanDeLinde, urged his classmates to make the most of the opportunities that others had given them.
“Sometimes the greatest way to show your gratitude is to succeed,” he said. “Do not let the sacrifices that others made go to waste.”
For an unprecedented event in the school’s history, it seemed to go on with minimal logistical issues, if any. PA state troopers and Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies—led by Joe Lobasso, the school’s director of safety and security—helped direct drivers into their designated spaces. Just about every vehicle was situated with an hour to go before the ceremony started. As the seniors sat waiting in their cars, they heard from their fellow classmates whose personalized well-wishes and farewell videos played over the jumbotron.
Dominic Maglione Jr., who gave a speech on fortitude, said he was confident that struggling through this difficult time now was preparing him and his classmates for success in the future.
“The fortitude we hold within ourselves due to our unity as a class in the face of these current and previous hardships has prepared us for any future trials in ways unimaginable. For this reason, I am certain that the class of 2020 will transform even the greatest challenges into the opportunities of a lifetime.”