By Janmarie Foschini
On Thurs., June 18, Class of 2020 students from the Greenwood Lake Middle School said their goodbyes to their middle school years. Although this wasn’t the graduation ceremony they had all planned and hoped for, the eighth grade graduating students were honored in a special way.
Prior to their virtual graduation, the Class of 2020 were honored with a car parade down Windermere Ave. Emergency vehicles complete with lights and sirens led the car parade. Parents, families, friends, school administrators and teachers decorated their cars with balloons and signs while the graduates lined Windermere Ave. in their green and white caps and gowns and waved as the parade made its way down the street.
Following the parade, families returned home to await the virtual ceremony. The ceremony began with photos of students showing their first year in the middle school to their final year of eighth grade.
Principal Jeffrey Golubchick welcomed everyone to the graduation video and celebration with a “thank you” to Christopher Ferry for putting together the slideshow of the graduates and to all of the Greenwood Lake teachers and administrators for their support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He gave an extra shout out of thanks to the eighth-grade advisors Cathy Castaldo and Cheryl Prall and to the entire Board of Education.
“I would like to honor the memory of longtime board member and staple of our community, Mr. John Finn, who passed away at the beginning of our school year,” said Golubchick, who also acknowledged teachers, Anita Mayfield and Julianne Picarello, who are retiring.
Golubchick then addressed the Class of 2020 saying, “During my years in education, I have believed and promoted that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. In the three years that I’ve known you, you have gone from sixth graders to teenagers in what seems to be a matter of moments but so much has changed in the last three years. You have become leaders here at the Greenwood Lake Middle School as well as leaders around the community. Even though students might be going to school in another zip code, they will always be Lakers. Remember, Lakers, it is so important, especially in times like these, to always #ChooseKind and #ChooseMind and be friendly.”
Superintendent Sarah Hadden added, “This is certainly a year to remember for the rest of your lives. I’m sorry you didn’t have the eighth-grade year you deserved. We did our best to make it special for you with yard signs, a parade and more. As you plan for high school, I offer you the following advice: explore your interests, extra-curricular activities, such as art, and sports, and choose things that bring you genuine joy.”
Claire Calandra, the Valedictorian for the Class of 2020, addressed her peers and reflected on the memories over the years and the most recent events that proved the class of 2020 to be adaptable and strong.
“Thank you to our teachers who taught us how to become responsible young adults [and] our coaches for all their time and dedication and for being role models. In true Laker spirit we all came together during these trying times. Congratulations to the Class of 2020,” said Calandra.
Class of 2020 Salutatorian Leah Pitiger addressed her fellow classmates and teachers. She recapped on the memories throughout the years and the unbreakable bonds her classmates have made and hopes that they all continue to follow their dreams and work towards goals.
“As a whole we learned not to follow in another’s path but to create paths of our own,” said Pitiger.
Students were presented with the following awards: Music Award – Emily Bujosa and Lena Jodry; Technology – Giles Rivera; School Spirit and Leadership – Nina Melone; Performing Arts – Emily Bujosa and Courtney Romano; Volunteerism – Leah Pitiger; Citizenship -Helayna Benard and Kira Sarine.
Highest Average Awards
The following received awards for the “Highest Average”: Art and English – Jack Kaminski; Math and Science – Claire Calandra; Music – Ava Schwab; Physical Education – Nina Melone; Social Studies and Spanish – Leah Pitiger; and Technology – Kari Annuziato.
Memorial Award Presentation
The following received Memorial Awards: The Ellen White Award – William Siebert and Kari Annuziato; Nick Parelli School Service – Jeremy Bender; Bruce VanHine Leadership -Alyssa Estrada; Waldemar Lagert/Science – Gina Milazzo; John P. Finn Achievement – Giles Rivera; Gloria Quackenbush Writing – Lena Jodry; and the Dale Hirrel Memorial Award – Ethaniel Nahoum.
The event concluded with Principal Golubchick reading each graduate’s name accompanied by a clip of two photos and video honoring each student.
With traditional graduations being canceled, this group of Greenwood Lake Middle School students & best friends, who had quarantined together, made the most of the moment & celebrated with a photo shoot on Greenwood Lake to mark the end of middle school & moving up to high school. Pictured (from left) are: Sean Mulcahy, Jeremy Bender, Sienna Thurber, Wils Siebert, & Jack Kaminski.
Emma DiPalma, Ashley Barkin & Nina Melone are excited to graduate from the Greenwood Lake Middle School & look forward to high school.
Claire Calandra (left) was named Valedictorian & Leah Pitiger was named Salutatorian for the 2020 Graduating Class of the Greenwood Lake Middle School.
Graduates from the Greenwood Lake Middle School are all smiles during the car parade that was held in their honor.
These Greenwood Lakers are excited to participate in a car parade honoring the Middle School eighth grade Class of 2020.