• Issue 5

You start by gathering a committee. The Kennedy Catholic graduation committee was formed and tasked with the goal of adapting end-of-year events, to the ever-changing expectations and limitations of COVID-19, and providing the students with as many of the meaningful experiences as possible. We could not be more impressed with their creativity and dedication to the Class of 2020.

When asked what path they took to creating such memorable experiences for the Class of 2020 given the unfortunate circumstances the committee shared “it was a collaborative endeavor between group members. We met weekly, discussed what usually happens at each event, and brainstormed ways to creatively try to incorporate those experiences, while abiding by the legal guidelines. Several members of the committee stepped up to lead and spearhead different portions of the events, and others provided ideas and volunteered support.”

Once it was determined that schools across the state and country would not return for the school year, the committee dove into incorporating students’ voices in the decision-making process. A survey was created and sent out to all seniors asking them to rank which events were the highest priorities. They were clear about wanting a graduation ceremony with a live component, taking part in the traditional 'Moving Up' gauntlet and prom.

To kick off the celebrations, the committee created senior yard signs and members of the faculty and staff delivered them to each senior’s home. Lancer families took photos of their seniors with their signs and those images were shared with the school and each student was celebrated with the community on social media.

They then set out to tackle the graduation ceremony. A drive through system was created to pass out caps and gowns. Students scheduled appointments for their moment to walk across the stage in the gym, receive their diploma holder and have their senior photos taken. Each special moment would be captured on video and shared live with the community during a virtual commencement ceremony in late May.

The final gauntlet is a way for students to thank those who’ve helped them on their high school journeys and for the faculty to offer last words of encouragement. Ensuring the moving up gauntlet tradition continued, the graduation committee rallied the support of faculty and staff. The community came together and created the traditional gauntlet tunnel a little differently. Students drove through a “tunnel” of decorated cars with their families and were cheered on by their teachers all dressed in spirit gear and happy to celebrate the amazing achievements of the Class of 2020. Their last stop in the gauntlet would be to pick up a bag with all things necessary to watch a special movie. Little did they know their teachers faces would be on screen wishing them farewell.

But the teachers and the committee didn’t stop there. While they couldn’t create a social distance prom, they still made the event one to remember. On what would have been prom night, each senior received a box filled with a custom frame and t-shirt, party poppers and bubbles to dance the night away. You can read more about this special event in another story this issue titled, 'A Night to Remember.'

While the process was daunting the journey was well worth the work. The committee leaders shared they “were extremely proud of what we were able to create with the virtual commencement ceremony itself, and all the special surprises and deliveries that were developed for the students. Lancer seniors had a challenging year in many aspects, and we wanted the final moments of their Kennedy lives to show the love and pride we have for each graduate.”

Our community could not be more proud of the accomplishments of the Class of 2020. We would like to extend our most heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make each event and surprise possible. We wouldn’t be the Lancer Family without you.

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