ConGRADulations, Class Of 2020!

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 Westport Garden Club decorated Staples, for today’s #FridayFlowers project. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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.

(Photo/Jennifer Kobetitsch)

The D’Anna family.

The Brannigan family arrives in style.

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.

(Drone photo/Ryan Felner)

WWPT-FM, on the air.

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.

Dylan and Shea Curran were the first graduates.

Staples principal Stafford Thomas.

Turning the tassels.

There were great cheers, plenty of smiles, individual photos. “This is cool! I wish my graduation was like this!” an older brother said.

The Staples High School English Department salutes its grads.

Audrey Bernstein’s dad Doug wore his Staples Class of 1981 graduation t-shirt.

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.

Super Staples supporter Laura Blair and Jenna Herbst.


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.

(Photo/Ilene Mirkine)

(All photos/Dan Woog unless otherwise noted)

11 responses to “ConGRADulations, Class Of 2020!

  1. Kathie Bennewitz

    Bravo class of 2020! 🎓👏🎓 and well done Staples High School! Thanks for covering and sharing this Dan! Wish we could have all seen it in person— feel like we did virtually!

  2. Kim, Buck, Kellie and Zach Iannacone

    We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing graduation!!! Staples High School and the Town of Westport, the Iannacone Family thanks you for making this day so incredibly special and going above and beyond what we would have ever expected!

  3. Claudia Shaum

    Hooray for the Class of 2020! I’d like to add a special shout-out to all the amazing volunteers from the SHS PTA – especially Penny Miller, Wendy Converse and Michele Carey-Moody- who worked so hard for the last 3 months to make this day amazing for the Seniors.

    • David Squires

      Big ConGraduations to the Class of 2020!
      Certainly one that will not soon be forgotten!
      Go forth & Help Heal the Planet!
      Celebrate in Style….
      D. Squires, Staples ‘75

  4. Perfection!!!!

  5. Enia Noonan

    It was a day to be proud to be a Staples graduate and a Staples staff member. You finished your four years on a high note with sunshine, laughter, great music and a lot of virtual hugs. Congratulazioni! May the future bring you wonderful new adventures!

  6. Wishing all of these special graduates the best! A beautiful day for an amazing graduating class. Congratulations Class of 2020!

  7. Louisa D'Amore

    What a wonderful way to celebrate our graduating class of 2020!! In bocca al lupo, Seniors!!! 🙂

  8. David Grimes

    Our daughter, Staples Class of 2020, experienced all of the lows of the pandemic felt by her fellow senior class members — no prom, externship cancelled, no last social outings with friends. This “drive by” graduation ceremony showcased the best of our community. From the neighbors lining the parade route streets, to the Oreo cupcakes made for each member of the class, to the many signs lining the route, and the teachers, staff, and town members cheering the students on Staples, it was a memorable day. As my daughter (whose brother is Class of 2014) whispered to me after, “I think I had the best graduation.” Thank you Westport.

  9. Nell-Ayn Lynch

    What an amazing, beautiful day to help celebrate the Class of 2020! Congratulations!!!

  10. Carla Eichler

    This year’s graduation was so joyous! The smiles and happy faces (graduates, families AND staff) very much helped bring closure to the year. A big thank you to all that helped organize!