Submitted by Stella Niagara Education Park
On Tuesday, June 30, Stella Niagara Education Park proudly held a graduation ceremony for the eighth grade Class of 2020. Following guidelines from New York state, SNEP’s 335-foot parking lot was transformed into family carrels decorated with blue and gold balloons and labeled artistically by students armed with sidewalk chalk.
Nicholas Picholas of WKSE “KISS” 98.5-FM and parent of a graduating eighth grader, was kind enough to provide a stage and sound system for the outside ceremony. Sister Margaret Sullivan, principal, and eighth grade teacher Margaret Feuerman presented the diplomas as well as many special awards unique to the Class of 2020.
While the end of the 2020 school year was challenging, the focus of the day was celebrating these students and all they achieved over their years at Stella Niagara. Students were recognized for their academic achievement as well as their dedication to the safety of their fellow students and the commitment to the school community through participation in functions and events.
Feuerman was proud to acknowledge that all graduates received the Safety Patrol Award, the Community Service Award and the Drama Club Award.
This does not happen every year and is evidence of the graduates’ commitment to their school and reflects the quality of their character. Long before COVID-19 and the lockdown, these young people knew that whether on the basketball court, the soccer field, the stage, the classroom or the stop sign, we are all in this together.
On Sunday, prior to the graduation ceremony, the eighth grade students, their families and our faculty had one last Zoom session to view the eighth grade video. This video was a compilation of pictures from Montessori pre-K through eighth grade. Watching the video over Zoom was a fitting end to our current situation. There was much laughter, tears and joy as everyone watched the video!
In addition to the normal accolades SNEP graduates receive every year at graduation, this year Stella Niagara’s middle school teachers crafted special awards personally for each graduate to recognize all of the personality they brought to the school. Here are some of the awards:
Lily Clark was given the MARVEL-ous Award for finding ways to insert the Avengers into all of her assignments.
Andrew David was given the Roberto el Romantico Award for incorporating his role into every Spanish story.
Madeline Heidt was given the Voracious Reader Award for putting Mrs. Trower to work finding Maddy books to read.
Reese Honadle was given the How to Succeed in School Award for her tenacity and dedication to achieving her goal of consistently making high honors.
Ryann Honadle was given the Teacher Award for helping Mrs. D’Aloise when she was teaching.
Yusuf Huzmeli was given the Lawnmower Award for choreographing all the shenanigans during “Build Me Up Buttercup” in drama 113.
Alicia Lama was given the Comedian and Most Quotable Award for making the teachers laugh and her sarcastic wit.
Emily Mountain was given the Dream Team Award for her devotion to her fellow swimmers and her excellent work in the pool.
Erik Parkes was given the “I need an alarm clock” Award for needing a wake-up call occasionally during distance learning.
Ava Pauly was given the Infection Smile Award for being so joyful all the time.
Sofie Schimmelpenninck van der Oye was given the Age to Age award for all of the love and compassion she’s shown to the Sisters of St. Francis over the years.
Lola Sperry was given the “Let’s hide on Mrs. Feuerman” Award for her antics in biology.
Christopher Trapasso was given the Experto en Tecnologia Award for helping Senora Bennett and everyone else with their technology issues.
Following the presentation of diplomas and awards, the Class of 2020 presented a tree to the school, and Sister Margaret made a special blessing of the tree. The tree is a Cleveland flowering pear tree and will be located just beyond the chapel steps. In closing, Sister Margaret blessed the graduates and their families with the words of St. Francis.
Sister Margaret was happy that, while the end of the school year was not what anyone imagined or expected, the graduation ceremony was one as unique as our graduates and properly celebrated the accomplishments of the Class of 2020.