On Saturday, May 2, 2020, St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip hosted a “Senior Sendoff”. This event was arranged following Governor Cuomo’s announcement that New York State school buildings would remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Throughout the remote learning period, St. John the Baptist has remained connected academically and spiritually with students and the school community. During this time of year, the school’s 357 seniors would normally be participating in many special events and activities to celebrate the end of their Catholic high school years. Due to New York on Pause, St. John the Baptist seniors, like other high school seniors, will be unable to hold their special events as planned. Consequently, the high school’s administration planned and coordinated a special parade for seniors on the school campus.
Students and their families decorated their cars in celebration of the Class of 2020 and drove through the school campus so they could see the school building, athletic fields, and other special places. As students entered the parking lot, they were welcomed by School Chaplain, Rev. David Atanasio. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kathleen Walsh, Principal Biagio M. Arpino, other members of the administration and faculty also greeted students throughout the campus route, which was a single file drive-by in accord with social distancing guidelines. Each student was given a special sign created to acknowledge their accomplishments so they could place it on their front lawns in celebration.
A correspondent from the Town of Islip was present, and the Town of Islip created this video about the event and placed it on their Town of Islip YouTube channel for all to see.
“This is the beginning of what we hope will be celebrations to highlight student accomplishments and continue the special bonds among the SJB family,” said Principal Arpino. Dr. Walsh also recognized the students, stating “We’re giving honor and putting joy in the lives of the young people who so deserve it. They’re doing a wonderful job dealing with a difficult situation, and it’s a testimony to their families, to their community, and to the school they attend.”