By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Members of the Sons and Daughters of Italy Lodge #240 informally took over Marlborough’s Arnold St. May 14 for an abbreviated version of their annual scholarship ceremony.
Honoring Marlborough students Cameron Sinopoli and Dinh Ton, along with Quabbin High School student Cassandra Harrington, the event featured brief comments from Lodge President Dan Caruso and benefited from a special appearance by Mayor Arthur Vigeant.
“We’ve all been working hard to keep everybody at least feeling like they’re a graduate in 2020,” Caruso said after the festivities. “We felt like this was the best way we could do that.”
With COVID-19 still rampant in the community, lodge members and event attendees spilled into an otherwise empty street, keeping distant from one another to avoid transmission.
Such social distancing had forced the Lodge to change plans from its annual scholarship tradition of hosting a dinner in recipients’ honor at the city’s Welly’s Restaurant downtown.
Likewise, it’s closed school for graduates themselves and forced the cancellation of other spring ceremonies often dedicated to students who specifically qualify for awards and scholarships like the Sons and Daughters of Italy’s three, $1,000 recognitions.
As weeks have drawn on, uncertainty about what this summer holds for local students drove the push for this innovative kind of fanfare.
“We had to do something to make sure they had their award because we didn’t know what the high school would be able to do,” Caruso explained.
Calling the event an exercise of “scholarly distancing” Caruso commended graduates for their perseverance in an unprecedented time and encouraged them as they continued towards their futures.
That latter part is something he’s always done at these types of events. Now, though, he’s especially grateful to have been able to say those words.
“We’ve done this for a while,” he said. “This year was just a little extra special.”