Eighty-four cadets received diplomas during the outdoor ceremony in Clayton

Eighty-four members of the Class of 2020 at First State Military Academy received their high school diplomas at the third annual graduation ceremony June 1.

Following state and CDC guidelines, graduates were seated six feet apart on the Clayton campus and only two adults were permitted to sit in the viewing area, spaced appropriately apart from other family members. Additional family members were able to view the ceremony on a live-stream in their vehicles parked around the campus.

“FSMA is extremely proud of the Class of 2020,” said FSMA Commandant Patrick Gallucci. “We recognize these are very usual circumstances and this is not the complete ceremony everyone would have wanted, but we think this honors our outstanding graduates in the best way possible.”

Valedictorian Robert Andrews II urged his classmates to “find your purpose in life. Because of that purpose, that thing that drives you will remain constant when your plans change.”

“None of my plans have remained constant for after high school, I am already on Plan C,” said Andrews. “But I am in the process of learning that it is okay for plans to change.”

Salutatorian Raven Gaeta reflected on the last 18 years.

“No matter what life has thrown our way, we have pressed on,” said Gaeta. “The novel coronavirus was another challenge we had to overcome, but we are here today.”

Following the graduation ceremony, the Clayton Fire Company led the graduates in a vehicle procession off campus through the town, allowing those who couldn’t attend the graduation to show their support and congratulate the graduates.

First State Military Academy, a public charter and Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps school, completed its fifth academic year. The school has an enrollment of 430 students from 12 school districts in Delaware.