ABINGTON -- Neither a pandemic, nor thunderstorms, could stop the Abington Senior High School Class of 2020. Labeled as “unstoppable”, “unbreakable” and “undefinable” across Abington Township and the Borough of Rockledge, this year’s 609 graduates encountered their fair share of obstacles over the last three months of the school year.
Despite not having a traditional senior year, during those months of the extended school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, administrators, teachers and students were busy planning alternative ways to celebrate some of the students’ favorite annual traditions and milestones, including a hybrid commencement ceremony.
On Wednesday, June 10 and Friday, June 12 (originally scheduled for Thursday, June 11, but postponed due to inclement weather), Abington Senior High School seniors — divided in half by last name and assigned to timeslots in groups of 12 — celebrated commencement with a “drive-through” procession across campus, which was decorated and lined with supporters, including their former teachers cheering for them. Many students arrived in decorated vehicles as they paraded through campus one last time.
Upon arrival, students were able to pick up their diplomas, sign a class banner, and then make their way over to the commencement stage to have their names called as they walked across it and moved their tassels. Families were able to take photos and cheer on their graduates at the stage as well.
The two-day, in-person commencement event was capped off with a virtual ceremony, which included speeches from students and school officials, as well as, a traditional roll call of students’ names. Graduates even had the opportunity to include personalized messages alongside their photos as their names were read.
While it certainly was an unconventional way to celebrate graduation for the Class of 2020, it was important for Abington Senior High School staff and Abington School District administrators to ensure that the students had the opportunity to be honored in a special and dignified manner.