Trumbull grads get a memorable, unconventional sendoff

TRUMBULL — It wasn’t the traditional ceremony, but school officials made it a memorable one when Trumbull High School’s class of 2020 was graduated on Saturday.

Scheduled at 90-minute intervals beginning at 9:15 a.m., groups of 30 or so vehicles — each containing a senior and their family — were directed to one of three staging areas around the school.

Stepping out in groups of three or four, the 509 graduating seniors were then allowed to receive their diploma envelopes, turn their tassels and have a photo taken.

And while seniors seemed resigned to the unusual and, to some extent, disappointing circumstances, most of them appeared to enjoy the occasion and focus their attention on the bright side.

“It feels a lot better than nothing,” said senior Mackenzie Minor. “I’m just happy to be graduating at all.”

“I get to graduate from high school,” agreed senior Timothy McCrae. “I wish things were back to normal, but at the same time I know they’re doing their best.”

“I feel happy,” said George Manesiotis. “I feel proud of myself too.”

Despite the easy flow of the event, it was no easy task getting the logistics together, following a range of organizational details involving the town, school district, parents and students.

“We’re really excited as a faculty and staff to have our kids back on campus,” said principal Marc Guarino, who circulated among the three stations to try and see most of the kids off.

“It’s our hope and intent that they feel celebrated in the best possible way,” he said, citing the support of the town in helping get the graduation organized.

“I’m very impressed,” said Superintendent of Schools Ralph Iassogna. “I think that Marc Guarino and his committee, the parent and the students, did a phenomenal job of orchestrating this event.”

“I just think it’s great,” said Board of Education Vice Chair Tim Gallo.

“I’m just so glad that everybody pulled together in the community,” he said. “The board is really, really pleased.”

Along with the diploma cover, students were given a goodie bag of some graduation memorabilia, including a commemorative mask. Along with still photography at the three staging areas, there were also video cameras that simulcast the event live through the school’s website for relatives at home.

At a later date students will be provided with a keepsake recording of the proceedings, which will include pre-recorded speeches from officials and honored students, including Valedictorian Cyrus Asgari and Salutatorian Gabriella Modugno.

“It’s an unusual ceremony,” said teacher Jessica Spillane, whose son Andrew was also among the graduates.

“The class advisors and officers have worked incredibly hard for weeks to put together a ceremony that’s fun for kids, but safe, she said, praising teachers Steffanie Elkins and Anne Rizza for their contributions.

She said her son is enjoying the chance to decorate the car for the event.

“They all lost out on a lot of fun things at the end of the year,” Spillane said, “but he’s looking forward to being back on campus and seeing some friends.”

“It’s unconventional, but I think it’ll be really memorable for them,” said teacher Breana Martin.

“I feel like this year in particular is moving because there have been so many obstacles these students have faced,” she said.

“I’m just really excited and they’re making such a great thing out of crazy circumstances,” said parent Olya Fryz.

“Yeah, it’s a crazy ending,” her daughter, Natalia Fryz, agreed, “but they’re making it nice.”