On Saturday, June 6, Regis High School hosted its first-ever virtual Graduation ceremony. Unable to gather inside the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 128 young men joined the ranks of Regis alumni while gathered at home with their families and tuning into a live broadcast at regis.org/livestream.
The bulk of the ceremony was recorded in May in the Regis chapel, where Regis President Rev. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ, and Principal Rev. Anthony D. Anreassi, CO, were joined by Director of Mission and Identity Rev. A.J. Rizzo, SJ, and legendary faculty member Rev. Arthur C. Bender, SJ,'67. Chosen to speak on behalf of the class by his peers, John Clyne '20 recorded remarks from his home that were incorporated into the ceremony.
"I do concede that this end of year is not what we all hoped it would be," Clyne said. "This time was supposed to be filled with meaningful ceremonies and traditions like Prom or that coveted, annual, seniors-only visit to the childhood home of Dr. Anthony Fauci in Brooklyn, New York. Unfortunately, these are not possible. Still, all of us share a bond that transcends the computer screens in front of us, or even the interactions we could have had at prom or graduation. So, remember the things that make Regis great. The hard work required that caused us all to learn to persevere. The individuals, traditions, and humor that made Regis a truly fun place to be. And, most importantly, the brotherhood." A full transcript of Clyne's excellent speech is available here.
Dr. Anthony Fauci '58, whom Clyne playfully referenced, also recorded remarks saluting his alma mater's Class of 2020. "Now is the time if ever there was one for us to care selflessly about one another," said Dr. Fauci, whose servant leadership during the pandemic has inspired Regis students and alumni alike. "I have no doubt that the Jesuit education Regis provided has equipped us well and ultimately to overcome the difficulties of the current pandemic as well as other challenges we will surely confront in the future."
Regis Board of Trustees Chairman Anthony DiNovi '80 also addressed the Class of 2020 during the virtual Graduation, telling the Regians not to let the virus that upended their final months of high school define them. "You are not the class of COVID-19. You are the Regis Class of 2020 with your own distinct stories and talents," DiNovi said. "We expect great things from each of you regardless of this virus, and probably more so than ever."
DiNovi's initial remarks, along with the rest of the ceremony, were recorded in May. In a video recorded this week and added into the ceremony, DiNovi also spoke with passion about the horrible and inexcusable deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the need for all of us to "speak out and take bold action to change the world when confronted with racism in our midst."
"Our country must be better," DiNovi said. "Regis must be better, and we will be. When we hopefully return to school this fall, we will do our very best to lead on these topics, to support and protect our Black students and all students of color, and to encourage the dialogue and education necessary as the first step."
Before Fr. Andreassi read the names of each graduate, Fr. Lahart saluted the class who began as freshman in his first year as president. "Well we began this journey at Regis together four years ago, but this is the end of your time here as students at Regis High School," Fr. Lahart said. "And it is with full confidence that we send you off to change the world. Your spirit has touched us and remained with us, and we are very grateful."
Congratulations, Class of 2020! You will be missed on 84th Street.
Watch the full 2020 Graduation Ceremony: