Minuteman Seniors Get Diplomas at Drive-In Graduation, Watertown Student is Valedictorian

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A Minuteman High School students attends the drive-in graduation, Friday, held due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The following piece came from Minuteman High School:

On Friday, June 5, 121 students in the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s graduating Class of 2020 received their diplomas in a historic drive-in graduation ceremony. The first-ever drive-in ceremony was held to honor seniors in a timely fashion while also ensuring social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Each student was permitted to attend in one vehicle with family or loved ones. They each parked in assigned parking spaces that were grouped by their career majors. One by one, as their names were announced over a live stream on YouTube, students drove to the front of the building where they exited their vehicles to receive their diplomas and posed for photographs. 

In his remarks during the ceremony, Superintendent-Director Edward A. Bouquillon addressed the ongoing pandemic, economic turmoil, and racial unrest that the nation – and our families and communities – are grappling with. 

“I have confidence that you, the class of 2020, who have lost so much this senior year… you have gained an appreciation for the relationship and connection that only this crisis can teach,” Bouquillon said. “By losing our comfort zones, we seem to have gained a willingness to take on the difficult process of change. We have gained a more courageous effort to be a community. Look at how connected we have become over the past 12 days in the joining of so many people across the globe in protest to bring justice to the forefront and speak the truth about the racist underpinnings in our society. … The lessons learned from this time will continue to serve you and those you serve.” 

“With gratitude and love in our hearts, we are here to celebrate the Class of 2020,” Principal George Clement said in opening remarks. “We have missed you. We have prayed for you. We are excited for you. … Our students will do more than react to these trying times. Like our forefathers, Minuteman’s Class of 2020 will be leading the revolution.” 

Pre-recorded speeches from Valedictorian Rouaa Alwaz, a Biotechnology major from Watertown; and Salutatorian Jack Ryan, a Biotechnology major from Lexington; and Senior Class President Kameryn Montimes, a Health Assisting major from Everett, were broadcast on YouTube. 

Watertown’s Rouaa Alwaz was valedictorian for Minuteman High School’s Class of 2020.

After seniors received their diplomas and other items, and posed for pictures, they got back inside their cars and drove down a long driveway lined with numerous teachers and staff waving and cheering. 

The valedictorian, Alwaz, was becoming fluent in English when she began attending Minuteman as a freshman. Her family fled Syria amid war. 

“It’s amazing how much you can achieve when you have the right people there to support you, starting with Mr. Donovan, who, in the ninth grade, even though English was my second language, knew that I could achieve greatness,” Alwaz said. in her speech. “My father came to America with nothing by $300 in his pocket and the stars to reach for. … I always knew I had to work hard to achieve anything I desired. Thanks to my father’s example and my mother’s patience, I have been able to stay strong alongside them.” 

“We don’t know what the future will hold,” said Ryan, the salutatorian. “But because Minuteman was the place that encouraged me to be the best I could be, fostered teamwork instead of competition, allowed intelligence and creativity to flourish, and gave us practical skills and certifications that have genuine value, I know I will be able to face whatever challenges the future brings.” 

“Thank you for being my second family … and thank you for making me realize nursing is the path I would like to take in life,” said Montimes, the senior class president. “We are a class of perseverance. … We will not have all the answers as young people, but we do have to take advantage of every good opportunity. Do the leg work. Learn from our mistakes. Help others who are less fortunate along the way. Stand for all the good you believe in. And remember, keep the tools we have learned at Minuteman and put them to good use.” 

Minuteman, a regional career and technical education high school, expanded its campus on the Lexington-Lincoln town line and opened a new building in September 2019. The new campus includes a sprawling parking area mixed with earth-tone bridges and environmentally conscious architecture in front of the school building.

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