Administration reveals plan for graduation

Bottom+O+stands+vacant+following+the+closure+of+campus+March+13.+Due+to+the+coronavirus+pandemic%2C+the+senior+class+will+now+hold+their+graduation+ceremony+virtually.+

Isabelle Lhuillier

Bottom O stands vacant following the closure of campus March 13. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the senior class will now hold their graduation ceremony virtually.

Cameron Spurr, Lead News Editor

The graduation plan for the class of 2020 has been unveiled. There will be a virtual graduation June 6, and the program for the event will be pre-recorded, incorporating a mix of both elements that would take place during a traditional ASL graduation as well as new student-created components.

The administration has not ruled out organizing an in-person ceremony later on in the summer, with the potential for a ceremony taking place either at Waverly Campus or Canons Park, following social distancing restrictions in place at the time.

Having read the news, Elijah VanderMolen (‘20) said the plan was “the best they could have managed given the situation. I like that there’s still a virtual graduation ceremony that’s at a set time, but the fact that it’s recorded takes the awkwardness away from it, and will be more of a tribute than an official event, which is a good idea.”

According to an email sent to the senior class by Principal Devan Ganeshananthan, Director of Student Life James Perry and Grade 12 Dean Ivan Hauck May 14, in a survey sent out to the families of seniors at the beginning of May, 60% of respondents indicated an interest in ASL having a virtual graduation ceremony, and 83% of respondents hope that ASL can host an in-person ceremony later this summer.

Over the two months since the school’s closure, uncertainty arose as to how graduation would proceed. Many ideas had been discussed by the administration, including a delayed ceremony, graduation over Zoom and a socially distanced ceremony.

Kira Cascarino (’20), who was interviewed before the plan was released, said that she wanted an opportunity to close out the year together with her grade.

“Hopefully we’re given a chance to say goodbye to each other because we’re not gonna see each other again,” she said.

Though in quarantine, the Senior Council has been working to keep the class unified by creating additional activities for graduation.

Leading up to graduation, parents of students in the class of 2020 have begun a volunteer effort to celebrate the senior class, including an Instagram page with the username eaglestakeflight2020. On the page, according to Rachel Clark, an organizer of the effort and parent of Jack Clark (’20), parents are “putting congratulatory messages and sending in some pictures.”

Part of this initiative included delivering caps and gowns to members of the class of 2020. Around 30 volunteers are participating in the effort, with deliveries beginning May 14. 

Matt Pope (’20) receives his new graduation cap and gown May 14. Deliveries are being made to all seniors by parent volunteers. Photo courtesy of Rachel Clark
Matt Pope (’20) poses in his new graduation cap and gown May 14. Photo courtesy of Rachel Clark

Students who are currently outside of London will receive their cap and gown via mail. Volunteers consulted with Perry and Hauck, who have been helping behind the scenes.

Clark said that the deliveries have been a refreshing experience for organizers as well.

“For [volunteers], to get out of the house and go do something meaningful that made people feel good was pretty awesome,” she said.

As another way to celebrate their shared achievement, seniors have been putting together various videos, such as a celebratory song and a video showing each senior passing on their diploma.

“Hopefully we can find a way for the whole school to see [the videos] because we’re not the type of grade to give up,” Cascarino said. “We’re trying to do the most we can.”

Jasmin Taylor and Sal Cerrell contributed to reporting.

 

This is a developing story.