Master of Ceremonies: Julia Gomes

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Julia Gomes, the master of ceremonies, welcomes those in attendance. — Jeremy Driesen

Good evening, I am Julia Gomes, the master of ceremonies for this evening.

Welcome parents, friends, family, teachers, administration team, guidance counselors, Superintendent Matt D’Andrea, and fellow class of 2020 graduates. Each year the senior class recognizes teachers from elementary and middle school that have made an impact in our education. This year we would like to recognize Stacey Morris, David Faber, Gary Smith, Robin Wingate, Keri Cioffi, Jonah Maidoff, Deb Cutrer, Eve Heyman, Scott Schofield, and Sean DeBettencourt. 

Today, we gather to celebrate the end of our high school adventure, and the beginning of the rest of our lives. 

As I look out into the crowd of my classmates, I see a mature and passionate group of young people. I think we can all agree on just how much we have changed and grown from freshman year until now. These past four years have been essential in the molding of our character. At most graduation ceremonies, all the positive aspects of the academic journey are emphasized. I however, feel like it’s important to acknowledge the hardships and difficulties we have overcome. 

Although it’s important to remember the “good parts,” I believe that our struggles and our resilience shape us more than our successes do. Change is inevitable, and for better or for worse, it affects each and every one of us. How one deals with change says a lot about who they are. My high school experience was sandwiched. I grew up on the Island and attended the Edgartown School from K through 8. After my freshman year at MVRHS, I attended a vocational school off-Island for my sophomore and junior year in order to get my cosmetology license. I came back to the Island after completing the program to graduate with my class. 

Through all of the challenges I faced adjusting to a new school and community, as well as dealing with the challenges that came with moving back to the Island, the only consistent thing I found was that change is inevitable. 

Change is a major part of life in the real world. These past few months have ultimately tested us as a community more than we’ve ever been tested. Some may feel like the class of 2020 has missed out on a portion of our senior year, but I feel as though we have shared an experience that has prepared us for life in the real world. Things don’t always go as planned, and these past few months have certainly made that clear. Although the pandemic was unexpected, and canceled the entire last third of our senior year, we have individually and collectively done nothing less than rise above the hardships we’ve faced. 

As a class, we have learned to adjust to new online learning tools and to abide by our local laws during this difficult time. We still managed to graduate with the incredible support of our friends, families, community members, and faculty who made this ceremony possible. As a result, we’re closer than we’ve ever been as a class and as a local community. 

Not many people can say they graduated from high school during a global pandemic. However, we can rest assured that no one will ever forget the class of 2020 and our accomplishments. I’m thankful to have grown up in a place with such a remarkably supportive community. 

I’d like to thank my mom, brother, teachers, classmates, and friends who have constantly cheered me on throughout my time in school, when I didn’t feel like this day would ever come. In hindsight, I have never felt more nostalgic. 

2020 was meant to be an exceptionally memorable year, and it has been nothing short of that. Everyone here today can agree that the class of 2020 has gone through our fair share of things. Not only have we proven to be an impressive class, we are now a historic one. 

Thank you.