There was no “Pomp and Circumstance.” There was no processional march. There was no tossing of caps into the air.
On the other hand, there was no hot fieldhouse. There was no bad sound system. There were no long speeches.
The Staples High School Class of 2020 graduated today in small groups. They gathered in festively decorated cars at Long Lots Elementary School. With a police escort they were driven by parents, in cars filled with family members, up North Avenue.
They drove past hundreds of signs congratulating, encouraging and thanking them. They were applauded by teachers, coaches, and staff members. WWPT-FM played upbeat music.
They got out, a few at a time. Their names were announced clearly. They walked across a stage. Principal Stafford Thomas requested that they turn their tassels. He then pronounced them graduates of Staples High.
There were great cheers, plenty of smiles, individual photos. “This is cool! I wish my graduation was like this!” an older brother said.
They drove out through Bedford Middle School, on past hundreds of more signs. Nearly every family honored them, individually.
It was a graduation unlike any ever seen at Staples before. It may be unlike any ever seen again.
But like any graduation, it was bittersweet. No matter how they graduate, we send off our seniors with mixed emotions. We are proud of their accomplishments. We loved having them as part of our school and community. Though it is time for them to go, we will miss them tremendously.
And we wish them all the luck in this new, uncertain world.
(All photos/Dan Woog unless otherwise noted)