Class of 2020 gradates on lawn, in Huss

The Class of 2020 returned to campus for Commencement on June 20 for a hybrid in-person, live streamed graduation. What was first planned as a return to the lawn on June 7 after years of off-campus graduations shifted to a virtual plan, then to a social-distanced plan on the lawn and ended with the presentation of seniors in the Huss Center for the Performing Arts.

Opening music was a loop of the US Orchestra’s virtual performance of “Nessun Dorma.”

The ceremony started with a welcome from Head of School Bryn Roberts and US Principal Max Delgado. The senior class speech was written by Nina Smetana, but because she was unable to attend, the speech was given by her friend Maddy Breton. It expressed gratitude to teachers, grief at the murder of George Floyd, and focused on the concept of infinity: it’s limitlessness, what makes it scary, and also it’s tremendous potential.

Of the last three months, Smetana wrote, “It’s everything we never got the chance to say goodbye to.”

The ceremony included a remote choir performance of Pentatonix’s “New Year’s Day.”

The presentation of senior awards included the Alumni Bowl, awarded to Ananya Narayan and the Faculty Bowl awarded to Liam Will.

Rain began to fall at 1:15 p.m. and the commencement ceremony was paused at 1:30 p.m. so graduates and families could move inside. Seniors followed Dean of Students Chantal Thornberry to socially distanced seats in Huss, while families were directed to alternate spaces set up on campus.

The ceremony resumed at 1:40 p.m. with Head of School Bowls awarded to Kathleen Bishop and Quinn Christensen.

Because the class had already been awarded diplomas during on-campus appointments June 1-4, the class was presented on the Huss Stage.

The senior’s last in-person day was Mar. 13. In April, they followed the first distance-learning schedule, then embarked on virtual senior projects.