The Blackstone Valley Tech Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony was held outdoors on BVT's athletic field on Saturday, August 8th. The socially distanced celebration marked a significant milestone for its graduates, which was worth the delayed date due to the ongoing pandemic. Face masks were required, and guests were limited to immediate family members seated six feet apart, with additional members and friends invited to view a live-stream of the ceremony from their own homes.
"I am very pleased with our community decision to defer this ceremony until we could make this possible," said Assistant Superintendent-Director/Principal Mr. Anthony E. Steele II, during his opening remarks and discussed optimism. "We will finally have an opportunity to honor our graduates with all the pomp and circumstance they deserve."
The morning ceremony included a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem sung by graduate, Mica McLaurin of Northbridge. Yvette Martin, Director of Student Services, delivered the benediction that included a graduation blessing and a moment to reflect upon those we have lost in our BVT family. Graduate, Derek Eplite of Douglas, gave an inspired musical performance of “Closer to the Heart” by Rush.
Graduating during a pandemic was a unique shared experience and a common theme that the student speakers each addressed effectively. Brandon Kee of Milford, the Class Valedictorian, spoke of overcoming challenging times. Cole Peterson of Mendon, the Senior Class President, reflected on an unforgettable senior year. Logan Keefe of Milford, the Student Council President, and the Senior Class Historian, highlighted perseverance as a defining trait of their class. Melissa Vieira of Milford, the NHS-NTHS President, outlined the pillars of NHS and being united as a class when Coronavirus turned our world upside down. Daniel McDonald of Grafton, the Class Salutatorian, recognized that in a crisis, there are opportunities, take advantage of new opportunities that emerge.
Assistant Principal, Mr. Matthew Urquhart, addressed the class, offered sage advice and spoke to the importance of family and the loss of their classmate, friend, teammate, and family member, Tony Pena. "Tony taught us about strength and commitment throughout his courageous battle. For most of you, it was your first experience with the loss of a friend, but the sense of togetherness and unity you exhibited each day served as a reminder that we are more resilient together than we are alone."
“We are proud of this class for leading by example during unique highs and lows. Setting a positive example for our underclassmen on how to adapt to life situations as they presented themselves,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael F. Fitzpatrick. He encouraged the Class of 2020 to build upon their BVT experience and convert their dreams into future accomplishments.
Two hundred ninety-eight students concluded their dual high school education and received their vocational certificates and diplomas. That certifies mastery of the competencies in their career-technical programs, and a rigorous academic course of the study. The ceremony ended with a round of applause as the graduates tossed their caps towards the sky.
About Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School (BVT):
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton, and Uxbridge. Located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, BVT creates a positive learning community that prepares students for personal and professional success in an internationally competitive society through a fusion of rigorous vocational, technical, and academic skills. The school’s website is www.valleytech.k12.ma.us.