The Honeoye Falls-Lima High School held a socially-distanced group graduation ceremony for its seniors on Thursday, July 9 at the high school, featuring some of the traditions of a regular ceremony. The students still walked under the daisy arches and listened to the speeches of the Class of 2020 Valedictorian Casey Walike and Class of 2020 President Riley Wall and they were certified as graduates by the HF-L Board of Education President Carol Bellavia. They were greeted by words from High School Principal David Roth and HF-L Superintendent of Schools Gene Mancuso.
Yet, some things were different. There was no live band or choral pieces performed; all the music was pre-recorded. The graduates sat in chairs spaced six feet apart on the turf field at James Dollard Stadium and they were limited to only two guests either on chairs set up on the stadium’s track or in the stands. Other guests could stand around the outside of the perimeter fence or even listen to the graduation over the stadium loudspeaker. There were no graduation awards presented as those were handed out to graduates when they came for their personal graduations on June 18 and June 19 and when they turned in any school-related items they had at home. Class of 2020 Salutatorian Phil Ackerman was unable to be present at the group graduation, but his speech was filmed during his personal graduation. The graduates had their names called out, standing up, rather than each one coming up on the stage.
The biggest thing is that the graduates were together and those unable to watch the ceremony in person could view it at home as THE SENTINEL broadcast the ceremony live on its YouTube Channel and streamed it on its Facebook page. At its peak, there were 348 devices watching the event on YouTube and Facebook combined and it eclipsed the number of viewers who watched the last Union Star Lounge broadcast on June 27.
“We had people come up to us in the booth and thank us,” said Peter Carosa. “The broadcast was also picked up live by Flaherty’s and shown to customers in the restaurant. We would like to thank Katie Millard from the high school main office, Superintendent Gene Mancuso, High School Principal David Roth, Eric Waterstraat, who helped with the audio and the other school administrators, faculty, staff members and Buildings and Grounds members who helped facilitate our broadcast.”