LONDONDERRY — This was not the traditional graduation ceremony expected, but then again, this wasn’t a traditional end for the Lancer Nation class of 2020.
But this class persevered and accomplished so much, school officials said, even though the senior year was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Londonderry High School celebrated its graduating class at the school’s 41st commencement ceremony last Wednesday night, held on the football field.
Three-hundred and twenty-five graduates forming lines of blue and white walked across the field to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and all wearing masks.
Londonderry High Principal Jason Parent offered a welcome and said although this senior year’s end was not what graduates had hoped for, students rallied, embraced remote learning, took on community projects to support those in need and kept in touch with each other to find that alternative way to succeed and grow through the challenges.
Parent said this year’s graduation theme was “vision,” and this generation of students had grown strong and determined to make a difference, no matter where their paths might lead.
And the path during this senior year took off in some unforeseen directions, the principal said.
“Lancer life as we knew it ended,” Parent told the graduates, “But you had the vision to make the best of a different reality. You made it through the most challenging of circumstances to get here.”
Parent said although the school year ended abruptly that day back in March, the senior class found ways to stay connected, with yard signs, lighting up the school fields, remote learning activities and meetings, car and birthday parades, and then coming back this week for a culmination of the year, with graduation, a senior social and a prom set for Friday night.
Parent also credited the many accomplishments of the senior class. Students excelled with 55 graduating with a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher. There were also 217 members of the class of 2020 named New Hampshire Scholars and $138,848 awarded in local scholarships.
Class Valedictorian William Kemball-Cook told his fellow graduates to look beyond anything lost this past spring due to the pandemic and keep moving forward even as the future holds many unknowns.
“We can adapt to change,” he said. “The class of 2020, we are problem solvers, we are thinkers, we are leaders. We came through to make the best of this situation.”
Kemball-Cook said he is excited, not scared, of what lies ahead and urged his classmates to never give up. And to keep a smile.
“That’s something all of us can do,” he said. “Smile as you think about the things in high school, smile as you think about everything you’ve done to help the community, smile as you take on the future and do not lose hope. We will make it out of this, and promise me you’ll keep your smile.”
In addition to Kemball-Cook, students in the top 10 were salutatorian Kerry Daley, Timothy Gore, Dylan Hotter, Courtney Shay, Cailin Borovicka, Ethan Byerly, Kelly Calawa, Stephen Bompastore, and Cailey McDonough.
In his address to the class, Gore noted his classmates resiliency and hard work to get to this point and about to receive a diploma.
“Our senior year didn’t go as planned, but here we are graduating,” Gore said. “We persevered and showed unprecedented adaptability.”