Caps, Gowns & Masks: SVHS Class of 2020 Graduates Like No Other (Story, Photos)

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Saucon Valley High School Graduation 2020

Class officers and commencement speakers mark their official graduation from Saucon Valley High School by turning the tassels on their caps at the conclusion of Saturday’s ceremony, which was held as a drive-thru event in the school’s parking lot because of social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Saucon Valley High School Class of 2020 celebrated a milestone achievement Saturday–graduation–in a way no other class has before. To their credit, students and their families made the most of the unique drive-thru ceremony, which was made more meaningful because of the hurdles that had to be cleared just for it to be held.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic that began in March, Lehigh Valley residents are currently restricted to gathering in groups of no more than 25 people, and it was unclear for a time if there would even be a commencement ceremony for the Panthers this year.

Eventually a plan was finalized that would allow for the ceremony to be held outside at the the high school, where speakers and the presentation of diplomas were filmed for projection onto a Jumbotron located along the north side of the parking lot. Mobile Technology Graphics of Lower Saucon Township donated it for use at the occasion.

Vehicles were decorated to the hilt for the outside ceremony, which was held in the parking lot and in the high school bus loop due to social distancing requirements related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The stage upon which speakers addressed those seated in their vehicles was located at the edge of the bus loop outside the entrance to the high school.

Audio for the ceremony was available by tuning in a car radio receiver to a preset frequency, and the entire ceremony was livestreamed on YouTube so family members and friends who were unable to attend could watch it in real time.

In order for the ceremony to be held at the high school, each graduate’s family was allowed to bring only one vehicle, which is why many families came in Suburbans, passenger vans and large-sized types of transportation.

Families and graduates were required to remain inside their vehicles throughout the ceremony, except if a restroom break was needed. Portable restrooms were located at the edge of the parking lot for use during those occasions.

The other exception was for the presentation of diplomas to graduates, although social distancing requirements meant that students had to maintain six feet of space between each other and school district administrators as they completed the rite of passage.

A Saucon Valley graduate walks around the bus loop toward the stage, where diplomas were picked up.

There were no handshakes or hugs outside of family units, and students wore face masks as they approached the stage, taking them off before they walked onto it to pick up their diploma.

As each senior walked to the edge of the bus loop and then around it, their family’s vehicle entered and followed them around the loop, stopping for photos of their child picking up his or her diploma and then again for shots in between black and red balloon “pillars” that along with other decorations were purchased with money raised by parents.

Instead of applause, car horns were sounded, and most vehicles were decorated with signs, streamers, balloons and writing to celebrate the young man or woman inside it.

Class president Monem Rizvi waits to receive his diploma. Custom-made Saucon Valley High School Class of 2020 face masks were worn by graduates as they approached the stage area, where they were removed for photos.

The entire ceremony lasted about two-and-a-half hours, and received praise from those who attended, many of whom commented on the impressive level of organization that had gone into creating such a unique event.

Since most teachers were unable to attend this year, many waited at the edge of the school distrit campus, where they cheered and held up signs congratulating the Class of 2020 as vehicles exited onto Walnut Street. The names of students were also written on the sidewalk in chalk, as another way of recognizing them.

The student speakers and class officers who spoke at the ceremony included: Kennedy Morgan, valedictorian; Zachary Appel, salutatorian; Monem Rizvi, class president; Paige Penizotto, class vice president; Anna Inglis, class secretary; Nicholas Snead, class treasurer; Abigail Altemose, Student Government Association president; and Talitha Diggs, student-selected speaker.

Class-chosen speaker Talitha Diggs addresses her classmates and their families at commencement exercises for the Saucon Valley High School Class of 2020. A track star, Diggs will attend the University of Florida.

Faculty presenters were Melissa Maynard and Mario Marcozzi, and the Saucon Valley High School choir performed virtually under the direction of Chad Miller.

Presenting diplomas to students were superintendent Dr. Craig Butler, principal Tamara Gary, assistant principal Amy Braxmeier, athletic director Robert Frey and school board president Dr. Shamim Pakzad.

As our way of recognizing the Saucon Valley High School Class of 2020, Saucon Source will provide each family with a complimentary high resolution image of their graduate. To receive the image file, please email josh@sauconsource.com with your son or daughter’s name and put “Grad Photo” in the subject line. Photos are for personal use and courtesy of Saucon Source LLC and Christopher J. Christian Photography.

Note: Graduate photos are below. Additional photos from the ceremony will be published in a separate gallery.

Class of 2020 valedictorian Kennedy Morgan

Class of 2020 salutatorian Zachary Appel

Class of 2020 class president Monem Rizvi

Class of 2020 class vice president Paige Penizotto

Abigail Altemose

Anna Inglis

Class of 2020 class treasurer Nicholas Snead

Class of 2020 student-selected speaker Talitha Diggs

Emma Patterson

Laura Gayanova

Kyra Harrington

Zachary Mikuta

Seran Goudsouzian

Caroline Gilbert

Ryan Kerr

Kyle Kerr

Bailey Smith

Aquinnah Silverman

Hannah Pandey

Gabrielle McCabe

Sara Mantoni

Connor Morgandale

Motus Anderson

Madison Apple

Matthew Arciuolo

Thomas Austin

Talia Avia

Kylie Beller

Savannah Benner

Emma Bernstein

Brandon Binn

Morgan Bloom

Tristan Bond

Corrine Borger

Alexandra Bosco

Jake Bruchak

Olivia Brucker

Adriana Bruneo

Samantha Bryn

Christopher Bucsi

Salome Carr

William Chen

Andrew Chikotas

Michael Clouse

Sierra Coffin

Sophia Cordes

Dane Csencsits

Cole Curtis

Jadyn DeBard

Matthew Deibert

Lorena Diaz

Kevin J. Dyer III

Justin Edinger

Serena El Banna

Leah Elane

Martina Fedorowicz

Justin Fegley

Thomas Ferguson

Dana Fischer

Jackson Garippa

Nicholas German

Sean Gilly

Nicholas Giove

Nicholas Gorman

Alexa Guerrieri

Sebastian Figueiredo

Erica Harvey

Mohammad Hassan

Hunter Haverty

Jezabel Hernandez

Stephen Hlavinka

Amelia Illingworth

Reno Iorio

Olivia Jackson

Caitlyn James

Olivia Kacerik

Daniel Keats

Ethan Kennedy

Elizabeth Kerosetz

Chanho Kim

Luke King

Anthony Kittelstad

Allison Klotz

Matthew Konkolics

Virginia Kouros

Jacob Kozlowski

Fiona Kramer

Garrett Laub

Haley Lebo

Maisie Leidich

Melissa Link

Faith Luffy

Braydyn Lugardo

Joshua Malone

Caylin Markle

Kevin Mateff

Joshua Mawson

Aedan McMenamy

Olivia Meier

Victoria Meono

Chelsea Miller

Adhiraj Miskin

Sarah Mitchell

Gabriel Ortiz

Matthew Moran

Nicolas Morawski

Mallory Mules

Malaika Nehal

Zachary Nicholas

Gregory Nolf

Maria Noll

Anim Ohene

Nathan Orr

Alexus Pacheco

Megan Patriarca

Kyle Patton

Kurt Pepper

Cameron Pritchard

Vito Randazzo

Vincent Rao

Jacob Reilly

Aiden Renninger

Ashley Rivera

Emma Rohn

Kelly Rose

Annie Rothacker

Brady Rowe

Allison Royse

Thulani Rukambe

Kiera Sager

Shelbie Salvaggio

Jeremiah Santiago

Robert Santiago

Kaylee Sauerwine

Kevin Schoch

Rachel Schoch

Lily Schoenenberger

Nicholas Greyson Schriffert

Kathryn Sharkey

Emerson Shauger

Brielle Sklodowski

Jacqueline Smith

Jessica Smith

Joel Smith

Abbey Soltysiak

Dale Sorensen

Thomas Spirk

Rachel Starr

Sadie Statler

Thomas Stern

Austin Stewart

Damian Strain

Mason Sysak

Brynne Szabo

Alexander Urban

Gregory Veil

Sydner Von Rohr

Nickolas Warnke

Madison White

Colleen Williams

Robert Yovish

Anthony Zambrana

Camryn Zavacky

Paige Ziegler

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