General Douglas MacArthur High School's Class of 2020 officially marked the end of their time in the Levittown Public Schools with seven abbreviated commencement ceremonies on July 27. Due to the national pandemic, the class was split into small, intimate events to adhere to New York State regulations. The seniors were honored on the field of the Levittown Memorial Education Center, surrounded by proud family, central and building administrators, MacArthur staff and board of education members.
Dressed in their blue caps and gowns, each graduate sat with two of their family members and were stationed six feet apart from their fellow peers to follow social distancing guidelines. Assistant Principal Anne Rao opened each ceremony by welcoming families and distinguished guests. Following the National Anthem, Principal Joseph Sheehan spoke about the extraordinary class seated in front of him.
"The Class of 2020 is leaving us this year with perhaps one of the most poignant send-offs that any of us can recall," he said. "You entered this world as we were still reeling from the terror attacks of September 11th. During your time at Salk Middle School, you experienced the loss of a beloved classmate and friend, Lorenzo Fernandez, and made Team 20 live in our hearts forever. From all this, you have been forced to grow up quickly and you are no longer just children. You have faced loss and disappointment and dealt with it with the maturity and passion that is truly admirable."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tonie McDonald acknowledged the graduates who will be serving in the military and gifted the Class of 2020 with a rock garden. Each graduate from MacArthur High School received a rock with their name on it. Two trees were planted by the Levittown Memorial Education Center to represent MacArthur High School and Division Avenue High School's Class of 2020.
"Overtime, these trees canopies will intermingle as a reminder of our shared experience," she told the graduates.
In addition, Valedictorian Evan Peters and Salutatorian Jason Maynard addressed their peers during respective ceremonies. Jason encouraged the graduates to do something impactful with their lives and discussed the importance of overcoming adversity. Evan reflected on the Class of 2020's achievements and inspired his peers to think positively about the future.??
"Even though the world can sometimes seem out of place, there is always a silver lining waiting to be discovered," he said. "Don't forget the good that can be done by actively spreading positivity in your community and your world."??
One by one, each senior was called to walk across the platform in front of the stage. Mr. Sheehan, Dr. McDonald and board of education members applauded the students as they were announced. Each received a copy of their senior video, courtesy of the school and were encouraged to watch the virtual graduation ceremony which would be posted on the district website on July 30. After officially being deemed graduates of MacArthur High School, the Class of 2020 exited the field to place their rocks in the rock garden, marking the end to their unique senior year and their time in the Levittown Public Schools.