STAMFORD — It was a special but bittersweet graduation ceremony at Trinity Catholic High School on Thursday as the Class of 2020 made history as, in the words of Principal Scott Smith, “the last class, the best class.”

Trinity Catholic, which opened in 1958 as Stamford Catholic High, celebrated its 60th and final graduation with two outdoor ceremonies for its 84 graduates.

“These kids have strong integrity, such strong character, nothing can stop this group,” Smith said. “These are the leaders of tomorrow. There couldn’t be a better group to close this school out, for sure.”

Like his fellow Trinity Catholic faculty members, Smith said he will fondly remembers this year’s graduates.

“I have been in education about 20 years, and there’s never been anything like these past couple of years I have spent with this class,” he said. “They are unbelievable, they are second to none. This class will always hold a special place in my heart. We are closing it out together.”

Under social-distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduation ceremony was held in the school’s parking lot under a big tent. Each student sat with two family members or guests. Half of the graduates were recognized during the first ceremony, which commenced at 4:30 p.m. The second ceremony began at 6:30 p.m. and followed the same safety precautions.

“I don’t know if the city, as big as it is, would have been big enough to house the graduation if we were in normal times,” Smith said. “The 60 years of people that would have come back to an event like this would have been amazing.”

Like all other students, the Trinity Catholic students had to close out the school year by navigating their way through distance learning.

But Trinity’s students did so knowing this was the final year for their school. The seniors had heard about the possibility of a closure throughout their high school years.

“Whatever obstacles, odds and opposition you may face, you have been blessed individually and collectively over the past four months,” said John Carrigan, who was Trinity’s director of counseling and student support. “You have learned perseverance, the strength of your faith and hope, which we encourage you to hold on to. The world ahead of you holds great promise and hope.”

Fiona Willette, who was the Class of 2020 valedictorian, drew laughter from the small crowd when she began her speech by saying, “Well, I guess we have had the most successful streak of senior skip days ever.”

“During this last year of high school, we were supposed to close doors, not only as graduates going on to college, but as the last graduating class of Trinity,” she said. “Unfortunately, we never had the chance to close our lockers, knowing it would be the last time. Close the front door on our last day of school, or close out the last day of our senior year, with the graduation we had been expecting,” she said.

“However, not closing those doors may have been the best things that could have happened. We have no could-haves, or should-haves, or would-haves to dwell on. We can look on what we did have — the memories, the friendships with one another and the relationships with the teachers and staff.”

Willette noted that the challenges they faced made them stronger.

“All that we have endured and overcame together will forever be a part of us, enabling us to find that next open door and all of the new beginnings and opportunities that lie beyond it.”

Maggie Carlon, the salutatorian, said she felt blessed to be among her Crusaders classmates one last time.

“Instead of dwelling on what could have been under normal circumstances, I am grateful that we can gather here today to celebrate the last graduating class of Trinity Catholic High School,” Carlon said. “I would not have wanted to spend the last four years anywhere else. There was always something special about the Class of 2020.”

Sports and student activities created a wealth of memories for Trinity’s final graduating class.

“There are some unforgettable moments, like when the boys basketball team won the state championship our freshman year and when the girls basketball team also won the state championship,” Carlon said. “Our sports, some of which were shorthanded, showed their heart and determination each game and despite the outcome, we held our heads off high. In the classroom, all of us adjusted to completing our classes online.”

During the final seconds of the ceremony, Carrigan said the words once more, “the best class, the last class.”

Maggie Carlon and Emily Sgritta were the recipients of the English Award. The Italian Award went to Bernard DiSotto and Will Garofalo received the Math Award. Christien Dupont and Leigh Ann Harrington were presented with the Physical Education and Health Award and Ava Sciarretta got the Religion Award. The Science Award went to Sophie Thompson and Will Garofalo and Fiona Willette earned the Spanish Award. Other award winners included: Alexander D’Agostino (technology) and Skylar Pinto, Ava Sciarretta (visual arts). The Crusader Award for school spirit went to Sophie Thompson, Patrick Carlon and Christien Dupont. Matthew Dougherty and Fiona Willette were presented with the Principal’s Award and Grace Carlon and Tyler Breault were selected for the Guidance Award.

Presidential Gold Award recipients: Maggie Carlon, Patrick Carlon, Kiera Fenske, Juliana Ferreira, Evan Field, Will Garofalo, Xiang Li, Mark Lombardo, Ava Sciarretta, Emily Sgritta, Hannah Tedesco, Sophie Thompson and Lauren Young.

Presidential Silver Award recipients: Susan Arana, Austin Biggica, Tyler Breault, Eleanor Curley-Holmes, Alexander D’Agostino, Bernard DiSotto, Emily Doyle, Christien Dupont, Andrew Ellis, Leigh Harrington, Ky-Mari Johnson, Jack Kinahan, Hayden Moore, Jason Pazmino, Skylar Pinto, Nicole Pritchard, Gabriella Perez, Jackson Uhl, Dena Valentine and Alexis Vander Kolk.

American Citizenship Awards: Grace Carlon, Maggie Carlon, Patrick Carlon, Eleanor Curley-Holmes, Matthew Dougherty, Christien Dupont, Kiera Fenske, Juliana Ferreira, Evan Field, Will Garofalo, Alexander La Valle, Kathy Miranda, Sean Oates, William Savage, Ava Sciarretta, Caitlyn Scott, Emily Sgritta, Sophie Thompson, Hannah Tedesco and Fiona Willette.

The Class of 2020 at Trinity Catholic High School: Rocco Abbate III, Tahjee’ T Morgan, Julia Allee, Emma V Nanfan, Susan I. Arana, Gemma Rose Nanista, Pietro C. Barbaglio, Malcolm Mekhi Newman, Morgan Olivia Bello, Victoria Mei Yee Ng, Luigi Martin Bernard, Sean H. Oates, Austin Lee Biggica, Alexandria Pavlov, Tyler C. Breault, Jason L. Pazmino, Alexander Calle, Gregory C. Pelissier, Grace Marie Carlon, Gabriella Perez, Margaret Louise Carlon, Skylar Nicole Pinto, Patrick Gordon Carlon, Simon Matthew Poulter, Zhuohao (Kerwin) Chen, Nicole Marie Pritchard, Isabella Sabina Cruz, Ruiqi (Krystal) Qian, Eleanor M. Curley-Holmes, Andres M. Rivero, Rocco B. Cuscuna III, Martin Salantay, Alexander D'Agostino, Rodd Michael Salvatore Jr., Christopher J. Del Vecchio, William Savage, Bernard DiSotto, Giana Scandizzo, Matthew Gerard Dougherty, Ava Sciarretta, Emily Doyle, Caitlyn M. Scott, Christien P. Dupont, Emily Margaret Sgritta, Martin Dushi, Gabriella Kristina Silvis, Andrew Charles Ellis, Michael D. Tamburri Jr., Timothy Ryan Farrell, Hannah Tedesco, Kiera Fenske, Sophie Ann Thompson, Juliana Noel Ferreira, Jackson V. Uhl, Evan William Field, Dena Valentine, Rahsen Khahlil Fisher, Alexis Ellen Vander Kolk, Will Garofalo, Jordy Vazquez, Leigh Ann Harrington, Fiona G. Willette, Ky-Mari Johnson, Dylan Wolfe, Jack Richard Kinahan, Xian Yun (Sam) Wu, Mackenzie Rose Kuehn, Lei (Leo) Yang, Alexander Ferdinando LaValle, Dylan Shang-Teh Young, XiangXiang (Bonnie) Li, Lauren Chien-Teh Young, Mark John Lombardo, Nicolas Enrique Zelaya Lucker, Theresa Ellen Lupinacci, Chenyi (Channing) Zhao, John Paul Marchetti, Xiaolong (Adam) Zheng, Kathy Nicole Miranda, Tianrui (Alex) Zhu, Hayden Joseph Moore.