The heat did not deter 181 Lawrence High School seniors from gathering with their classmates one last time in the school’s in-person commencement on July 29.
Graduates sat in chairs socially distanced on the LHS stadium turf field while guests and family members socially distanced in the bleachers and throughout the stadium area. Facial masks were required and social distancing was observed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The in-person ceremony was in addition to a virtual commencement for the LHS Class of 2020 on June 19.
After LHS Principal Dave Adam’s opening remarks at the July 29 ceremony, Tucker Simpson and Ian Wang, Class of 2020 salutatorian and valedictorian respectively, extended brief departing messages to their classmates.
As is tradition, the Class of 2020 presented a class gift. Nabil Hachicha, class president, related that in the spirit of the character of their class, they were donating $1,000 each to HomeFront, Every Child Valued, and Special Olympics, $250 to each LHS class, and $250 to Red & White, the school group that organizes pep rallies, spirit weeks and other events.
LHS did not distribute paper programs during the event. Instead, the school shared the program electronically and via a QR code prior to the ceremony.
“It was wonderful to see the majority of the Class of 2020 one more time and to provide at least a similar commencement experience to what they’ve imagined and looked forward to throughout their high school career,” Adam said in a statement. “We hope the in-person ceremony helped to ease the numerous disappointments the pandemic delivered to this class. We wish them the very best and look forward to hearing about their future successes.”
A video of the moment graduates tossed their caps can be viewed on Youtube.