Instead of a traditional commencement ceremony for this year’s Baldwin High School graduates, staff members and administrators are planning a series of events — virtual and in-person — to celebrate the culmination of seniors’ academic careers.
“Nothing is going to replace the traditional graduation on the field, but I think we’ve all learned to be accommodating and open-minded and flexible during this time,” Schools Superintendent Dr. Shari Camhi said at a virtual Board of Education meeting on May 13, “so you will have a series of wonderful celebrations that, combined, will be at least as good as the one celebration that would be on the field.”
Camhi said letters would be sent to the families of graduating seniors outlining the events, which will take place over five weeks from May 21 to June 26. Some of the festivities, she added, are the only ones like it anywhere — unique to Baldwin.
Some of the students said they were grateful for the planned events and to have supportive members of their BHS family.
“Baldwin has put together extravagant events in a matter of two months that show how much they have cared about us,” graduating senior Taylor Parides said. “Baldwin’s administration is working harder to plan these events than they would probably ever need to do for normal graduation and that, in itself, shows how much they care about us.”
“I’m excited to experience the upcoming events with my fellow classmates, even if we have to maintain a safe distance from each other,” BHS senior Ronnie Marchese-Silano said. “This is not an easy time, but we have to stick together and unite to show how strong the class of 2020 is.”
“Since the beginning of quarantine, I never knew when I’d be able to see my classmates or teachers again,” said senior Megan Doyle, adding that she is thankful to be part of a school district that has been devoted to the community throughout the pandemic.
“From the drive-through graduation to the decision day parade, I’m really looking forward to these events, especially since we’ll be able to see our classmates and teachers,” Doyle said.
Camhi said she hopes everyone knows how much the staff and administrators love their students, and “I do believe that there is an understanding that we will do everything that we can to make sure that the remainder of this year and the celebrations that they so deserve are honored.”
Additionally, in a letter posted on the district website, school officials said elementary school moving-up ceremonies will be virtual events with varying dates, to be shared by the principals. The Baldwin Middle School moving-up ceremony will take place virtually on June 18.
Budget ballots are due by 5 p.m. on June 9, and a virtual budget hearing was scheduled for May 27 at 7 p.m. A celebration of tenure and retirements will take place virtually at the June 10 school board meeting.