Landmark High School held a drive-by graduation ceremony on Saturday, August, 8, a bright, beautiful summer day that befitted the Class of 2020, which is known for its grit, perseverance, and resiliency. Sixty-three of the 91 graduating seniors attended the event. And while the day was not what anyone expected when the school year began in the fall of 2019, it celebrated the accomplishment of each student with pomp, circumstance, and tradition.
"Despite a global pandemic and the uncertainties that surround us, you safely welcomed us onto campus, making each student feel loved, celebrated and supported," said Christine Jackson, mother of Lydia '20. "We each left a piece of our hearts in Prides Crossing today. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We owe you everything."
Students and their families gathered in the parking lot of the Ansara Athletic Center in vehicles decorated with balloons, flags, banners, streamers, and other adornments in Landmark blue and yellow. For many students, it was the first time they've seen each other in person since the school closed in March and students shifted to remote learning. The students were demonstrably thrilled to be together again, to reconnect and celebrate their moment. It provided them closure.
"It was so cool to see so many of my classmates again after so long," said Margaret Hamilton. "I appreciated how many of my teachers were there to say congratulations."
Cars paraded to Governor’s Landing and paused for students and families to watch a video recording of Liz Theriault's speech to fellow graduates. The parade continued through the Drake parking lot and then up the hill to Alexander. Along the way faculty, staff, and friends cheered the graduates, blew bubbles, and held signs. Our beloved crossing guard, Annie Elso, made a guest appearance at her perch at the bottom of the hill and gave a shout-out to each student as they passed by.
A stage, elaborately decorated with floral arrangements, was set up in front of Alexander, where students were announced by Head of School Bill Barrett, handed their diplomas by Director of Transition and Guidance Suzanne Crossman, rang the ceremonial Landmark bell—a graduation tradition, and then exchanged elbow bumps with Headmaster Bob Broudo.
This was not the graduation that any of us could have predicted, but the Class of 2020 will be remembered for its flexibility, tenacity, and optimism.