What a tumultuous year it has been. No one knew when we turned the corner of 2020 that we would suddenly be operating with a world that was shut down, social distancing and being given a crash course in virtual learning.
As with everything, we’ve done our best to deliver education, compassionate therapy and help to our children and families during this time of uncertainty. When it became evident that we would not be able to hold all the usual spring events, the Talent Show, Awards Day and spring field trips, the Education team starting talking about graduation.
After much planning, we were able to hold an outdoor graduation ceremony following all social distancing guidelines and precautions for our 5 Seniors on June 18, 2020. All of our other students received their awards and recognition personally from their teachers and were commended for their diligent efforts even as the way we though of “schooling” changed. But those Seniors…we really didn’t want to let them go with the fanfare they deserved.
Quoting from the 2020 yearbook, Executive Director Bill Martin said “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. We have certainly seen storms this year, but today we dance.”
The five Seniors were recognized by their individual strengths: Sam’s gifts for art, music and culinary skills…a protector at heart. Tabby, a helper and great friend with a heart of gold. Jacob, a resilient and independent spirit. Shyhiem, friendly and outgoing, with a smile and contagious laughter. Nate, gifted with an amazing sense of humor and the ability to put people at ease. It was so wonderful to hear from their teachers as they watched them grow over their high school years.
Shyhiem gave a speech recognizing his teachers, peers and family members and the impact they had. His rousing and fun rendition of the song “Lean on Me” put a smile on everyone’s face. For many of our teachers and staff members who have been distancing and working from home as much as possible, this outdoor event was one of the first times they’ve been able to see each other since March, when the pandemic shutdowns hit. The joy in our field near the climbing tower was real and hope-filled. To be able to finish a year with all of it’s challenges, with triumph and celebration, was good for all involved.
As each family with their graduates gathered their gifts and awards and made their way to their cars, they were greeted on the drive out with waving, cheering, honking teachers and staff….a parade of well wishers ushering them into their future as young adults.
CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2020!
“Thank you for all you have done to help our son. He received so much care and love and support from you (and the rest of the staff), and there are no words to express how much I appreciate your efforts. You have done so much for him. His years at Waterford Country School made all the difference. You did whatever it took. Thank you.” -A parent of a 2020 graduate