Jesuit High School’s Class of 2020 celebrated commencement exercises Thursday (June 18), culminating their high school experience and most extraordinary senior year in a fitting manner – with an outdoor graduation ceremony at Corral Memorial Stadium on campus.
Originally scheduled for May 22 at the Straz Center downtown, Jesuit’s graduation, like so many events this spring, was forced to adjust due to the coronavirus outbreak. The result was a truly memorable occasion. The gorgeous outdoor graduation ceremony came the day after a beautiful outdoor Baccalaureate Mass in Oliva Courtyard. The weather was wonderful for both events, and the twilight setting provided a special atmosphere.
With everyone socially distanced on Alumni Field and in the Corral Memorial Stadium bleachers on Thursday night, the 200 members of the Class of 2020 comprised the largest graduating class in Jesuit’s 121 years. Of the graduates, 181 (91%) received academic, athletic, or service scholarships, and 156 (78%) received Florida Bright Futures Scholarships, with the total scholarship value exceeding $27.7 million. One-hundred percent were accepted into college, with 186 colleges and universities accepting Jesuit students in 2020.
The class features three Valedictorians: Bennett Andersen, who will attend the University of Florida Honors College, Riley Buchanan, who will attend the USC School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and Spencer Farfante, who will attend the University of Florida Honors College. Please view below a video of each of the three Valedictorian presentations from graduation.
In keeping with one of Jesuit's earliest traditions, graduates once again wore the classic tuxedo. The tuxedos were revived at graduation in 2015 for the first time in more than 70 years. The traditional cap and gown were worn Wednesday night at Baccalaureate Mass.
Click here to view a PDF of the event program from Graduation 2020, which includes a listing of all 200 graduates, as well as the seniors who were recognized at Virtual Awards Night in May; a listing of those recognized as summa cum laude (80 students), magna cum laude (40), and cum laude (28); and scholarships earned by members of the Class of 2020.
Each year, four special awards are presented during commencement exercises to recognize outstanding members of the graduating class. The recipients of these awards are determined by a vote of the faculty, and are commemorated on the 'Men for Others' monument on campus. The 2020 winners were announced by principal Barry Neuburger at graduation:
- The Charles J. Lashley Award, for outstanding characteristics of leadership of the student body, the highest honor Jesuit High School confers upon a graduating senior: A.J. Karabenick
- The Larion J. Elliot Award, for dedication and commitment to Christ and the Church through the example of his Christian Life: Andres Donovan
- The Pedro Arrupe Award, for excelling as a "Man for Others" through distinguished achievement in community service: Matthew Uzdavinis
- The Joseph P. Gavan Award, for outstanding generosity and dependability in service to the school community: Lex Capitano
Please view below a photo slideshow from graduation, as well as video of each of the three Valedictorian addresses by Andersen, Buchanan, and Farfante. Below that are drone photos of graduation.