With traditional celebratory activities drastically altered for Massapequa High School’s 570 seniors, the Class of 2020 is finding new ways to recognize their individual and collective achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Front doors and porches throughout the community were decked out in blue and gold as seniors were encouraged to create spirit doors at their homes. They chose items that represented their high school careers including pictures, sports jerseys, the Massapequa “M” and more. Many students also looked ahead by including the logos of the colleges they will attend in the fall.
The Adopt a Chief Facebook page allows members of the community to show their support and appreciation for Massapequa’s seniors. Senior class adviser Nicole Zappulla said that once a parent posts about his or her child, that student can be “adopted.” The adopters, which include community members, current and retired teachers, alumni and local organization such as the Girl Scouts and youth baseball leagues, then get small gifts for the student.
Ms. Zappulla noted that two Instagram pages were created to celebrated the senior class. One page, @classof2020chiefs, showcases the decorated spirit doors while the other, @massapequaseniors, highlights the students’ college plans.
Senior class president Alex Lawless said that he and his fellow officers are constantly looking for ideas to continue the spirit of senior year. They receive input from their fellow seniors and share ideas with Ms. Zappulla and administration.
“We are all trying to stay positive and optimistic and looking at how we can adjust our senior year experience to make it memorable,” he said. “Everyone is a little upset about the senior events being changed but everyone acknowledges this is an important sacrifice we have to make to keep the population healthy.”
Alex added that the class officers take seriously their responsibility as elected representatives to make sure all seniors are heard. One near unanimous wish is to have a physical graduation, which is being planned for early August at Hofstra University if gatherings are permitted then. The initial date for graduation, June 22, will instead feature a senior car parade from Berner Middle School to the high school.
Student Government President Alex Carmenaty said that there is a strong bond among the Class of 2020 and that unity transcends their different high school experiences. Those unifying moments have come throughout their time together since students from six elementary schools became one group at Berner Middle School.
For Alex, being the play-by-play announcer for multiple sports teams formed a strong connection between himself and Massapequa’s athletes. He understands the pain they felt losing their final season before graduation, and used his personal podcast to give athletes a place to reflect on their time wearing the blue and gold. A mutual respect for each other, he said, is what defines the Class of 2020.
Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District