HHS Class of 2020 lauded for resilience at long-delayed graduation

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For photos from graduation, click here.

The Hopkinton High School Class of 2020 finally had its day in the sun on Sunday, joining together one final time for their long-delayed graduation exercises at the HHS football field.

The ceremony was slightly abbreviated and altered from the traditional indoor event, but overall it was not substantially different.

Class president Drew Rancatore gave a humorous and thoughtful speech in which he reflected “how our past has shaped our present.” He referred back to the students’ first day of high school on Aug. 31, 2016, “a monumental day in our lives for the feelings that it carried with it: excitement, hope and uncertainty.”

Rancatore noted that right from the beginning the class was labeled as a group that wanted to overachieve, and it delivered.

Thanking the administration, Rancatore noted that when school was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Indeed it is a testament to the way this school made us feel that the majority of us were more disappointed by its cancellation than elated.”

Added Rancatore: “From what I’ve seen over the last four years I can confidently say that there is no collection of 294 students better equipped to handle such an unpredictable setback than these seniors that I proudly call my classmates.”

Perseverance was the theme of the day. A class born around the time of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and whose senior year was cut short by the pandemic repeatedly demonstrated its resiliency.

“Look at where you are today, sitting at a responsibly distanced graduation ceremony, mastering life with the coronavirus,” superintendent Carol Cavanaugh said. “I predict a lot of things are going to test your fragility over time, and my money is on every one of you.”

Valedictorian Timothy Fargiano asked graduates to be aware of the social issues affecting society and do their part to make a difference in whatever way they desire.

“Throughout history every generation is called upon to respond to events that will challenge, confuse and profoundly affect them for the rest of their lives,” he said, recounting the events that affected graduates’ parents and grandparents and then highlighting the events most memorable to the current generation.

Touching on the current social justice issues, he said: “Many of us have joined in the crowd of voices calling for change, uniting to affirm that the deaths of unarmed Black Americans at the hands of those sworn to protect them cannot endure in a nation dedicated to liberty and justice for all.”

Summed up Fargiano: “Like our parents and grandparents before us, we too are united by the opportunity to control our future. We will not be defined by the wreckage we navigate, but by the wonders that we can build on top of it. And we truly can build great things.”

HHS principal Evan Bishop lauded the students as one of his favorite classes and commended them for “how you made HHS more inclusive, more spirited and more accepting.”

“Through these ups and downs you have remained measured, mature and poised,” he said. “I admire so many things about this class, but especially how much you care for, appreciate and respect one another.”

Prior to the awarding of diplomas, the yearbook was dedicated to Liam Finnegan, an inspirational member of the class, while Hannah Ianelli was presented with the prestigious Marian T. Harris Award. The class’ gift to the school is a stone “H” that was placed in front of the entrance a few months ago.

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