A Bittersweet Farewell For Division Avenue’s Class of 2020

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Members of Division Avenue High School’s Class of 2020 turned the page on their high school careers on July 28. (Photo courtesy of the Levittown Public Schools)

Members of Division Avenue High School’s Class of 2020 turned the page on their high school careers on July 28. Despite the national pandemic, the seniors were celebrated during one of the school’s five abbreviated commencement ceremonies on the Levittown Memorial Field. The small, intimate ceremonies allowed for the graduates to be properly honored for their four years of hard work. Each senior was accompanied by at least one family member and were seated six feet apart from their fellow peers to adhere to New York State’s social distancing regulations.

To beat the summer heat, the ceremonies were held under a large tent on the field. Proud central and building administrators, board of education members and Division Avenue staff members were present for the special day. Assistant Principal Jaclyn Guidice opened the ceremony by welcoming graduates, families and distinguished guests. Salutatorian Jacqueline Testamark performed the National Anthem which followed by a welcome address from Principal John Coscia. He encouraged the graduates to dream big and to make an impact, just as the late Division Avenue teacher Michael Verdi did.

“Mr. Verdi is no longer with us in body, but he is in spirit and he will be with us forever and louder than before,” said Mr. Coscia. “The dark times we faced together this year will never win…as we bid you farewell, my wish for you is that you dare to be as great as Mr. Verdi.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tonie McDonald approached the podium to acknowledge the handful of graduates who would be pursuing a military career. She also shared a special gift with the Class of 2020. A rock garden with two trees, located on the side of Levittown Memorial Education Center, was created to commemorate this year’s graduates from Division Avenue High School and MacArthur High School. Each Division Avenue graduate received a rock with their name on it. The rocks would be placed under a tree in the garden to represent the special class.

Following her remarks, the graduates heard from Testamark who gave her salutatorian address, Valedictorian Emily Fuchs and Class President Nataly Rodriguez. The students reflected on their time at Division Avenue High School and provided words of encouragement for their fellow peers.

“Although the future is unknown, it is still in our hands,” Fuchs told her fellow peers. “It is up to you to decide how you react to the unexpected events of daily life.”

Afterwards, Board President Peggy Marenghi was invited up to the podium to confer the diplomas. Each graduate walked across the platform at the front of the stage as Mr. Coscia, Dr. McDonald and board of education members applauded them. They received a

diploma case and were encouraged to watch the virtual commencement ceremony which will be posted on the district website on July 30.

At the conclusion of each ceremony, the students exited the field and walked to the rock garden. Each graduate placed their rock in the new garden, leaving their imprint on the Levittown Public Schools forever.

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