Members of Northport High School’s Class of 2020 are the greatest testament to the strength within the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District. In the face of adversity, disappointments and distance learning, each graduate persevered through their final months of high school and walked with pride as they entered the stadium field on the evenings of July 31 and Aug. 1. Clad in blue caps and gowns, the Class of 2020, led by district administration and the regal melody of “Pomp and Circumstance,” processed to their seats to celebrate a well-deserved graduation.
Following each procession, Principal Daniel Danbusky welcomed students, faculty, administrators, Board of Education members, family and friends to the much-anticipated 2020 commencement ceremonies. He extended his best wishes to the Class of 2020, praising them on their strength, resiliency and unity during a time of great uncertainty.
“It’s what you have done and what you have demonstrated over the last few months that set you apart,” he said. “You graciously accepted a new reality of online learning. You partnered with us as representatives of your school to work though these challenges together. That’s the narrative that you have written; the narrative of who you have become. You are Northport High School Tigers that are going to change the world. Remember to wear that proudly and always show your stripes.”
Following his speech, Mr. Danbusky welcomed to the podium Northport High School alumnus Valerie Cuda Goldstein, who, like the graduates of 2020, “missed out on milestones” during her senior year back in 2000. She shared the story of a car accident that left her unable to attend senior prom or walk across the graduation stage to receive her diploma. Each missed opportunity, she said, molded her into the person standing in front of them.
“I believe that if you can get past this hurdle in life then you can do anything,” she said. “You are resilient and you will come out of this stronger than any of us could have ever imagined. You will learn patience and appreciate more than ever the little things in life, such as car rides, meeting up with friends and feeling the touch of a warm embrace. To my fellow graduates, you are now adults, able to grasp hardship. You already know to embrace life’s greatest lessons and not take anything for granted. You won’t learn these lessons in a textbook. Class of 2020, let this be your teachable moment. Now, go out and do amazing things. Use that strength and empathy to lead the way.”
Each student was then invited on stage to receive their diplomas as Assistant Principal Denise Keenan proudly read each name aloud. To close out each ceremony, Mr. Danbusky led the Class of 2020 in the symbolic shifting of their tassels from right to left. Without further ado, one by one, the graduates recessed out as Northport High School alumni. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!