On June 26, 2020 the 128th Commencement Ceremony for Cortland High School was a wonderful celebration for our Class of 2020. Although it looked drastically different compared to years past, there was an atmosphere of excitement and Cortland Purple Tiger pride. Instead of the traditional gathering with all graduates filing into SUNY Cortland with their families, graduates and families were assigned to one of four time frames at Cortland High School. For each time frame, graduates and families were asked to stay in their vehicle until the graduate’s turn to receive their diploma. While vehicles were circling the line of Cortland Enlarged City School District buses displaying “Congratulations Class of 2020!” messages on the windows, Mr. Keith Palm played fun music from his DJ equipment while the Purple Tiger mascot and High School staff walked around to each car and congratulated graduates. Each graduate entered the auditorium stage entrance, walked across the stage when their name was called by one of the Senior class advisors Mr. Rick Gamel or Mrs. Kelly Chapman, received their diploma, turned the tassel, and then exited the auditorium to take pictures with family in the courtyard. Family members were also able to take pictures and cheer from directly in front of the stage while Superintendent Michael Hoose, Board of Education President Janet Griffin, Executive Principal Joseph Mack, and 11/12 Principal John Zarcone congratulated graduates as they exited the stage.
11/12 Principal John Zarcone said "The class of 2020 is special for a few reasons but when we look back at this year, of course we will think of the Covid-19 pandemic. I believe that a lot was learned through these trying times. This class lost some things like the prom and athletic seasons, but when all is said and done, what they gained will outweigh the loss. They have learned that there are different ways to do things, and how to persevere through tough times. It was great to be able to show our appreciation through events like the senior parade, cap and gown pick up, and the unique graduation ceremony in the newly renovated auditorium. I wish nothing but the best for all of the members of the class of 2020!"
One graduate’s family enjoyed graduation more than a traditional ceremony. “Everyone felt involved. The drive up wait wasn’t terribly long, and we loved the awesome music Mr. Palm was playing. There were plenty of moments for quick photo ops throughout the drive up, and the photo backdrop before entering was great. It was so nice to see everyone smiling and truly happy as opposed to being in a hot arena where people are fanning themselves and checking their watches.”
Alexander Eastman, a member of the Class of 2020, said “I wish I could have walked the stage like everyone else and gotten pictures with my friends and my favorite teachers, but I am glad I got to have a few family members there to watch me graduate.”
We congratulate the Class of 2020 and wish them the best of luck in the future.