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Coronavirus creates a different graduation celebration for Lawrence Woodmere Academy


While a graduation ceremony initially scheduled for June 8 was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Lawrence Woodmere Academy Headmaster Brian O’Connell thought of the next best thing to do to honor the 32 senior students in the class of 2020.

O’Connell, who officially became LWA headmaster in March, visited each of the seniors outside their homes on May 25 and 26, taking photos and delivering graduation caps, tassels, lawn signs, and personalized banners. His predecessor, Mary Barton, accompanied him. “We wanted to have a socially distant and safe live drive-in graduation to celebrate the hard work of our senior Tigers,” O’Connell said.

The journey started in Lawrence when O’Connell and Barton visited valedictorian and the Herald’s LWA Antics columnist, Lilli Albucker at her home. Albucker, who will continue her studies at Tulane University in Louisiana, was touched by the gesture and shared some advice for younger LWA students. “Always remember to study hard,” she said. “It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it in the end if you put the hard work in.” 

Going forward, the attention shifts to online learning for O’Connell and LWA as the school is set to release a number of online summer programs. 

“These programs will help kids all over Nassau County, Queens and really anywhere learn this summer,” he said. “We usually try to prevent summer rust, with learning programs during summer, however, now we have Covid-spring rust and summer rust to contend with.”