At West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford School, the Class of 2020 is being celebrated with special moments, although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed some of the traditional senior activities.
Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School
It is certainly not the senior year that anyone expected, but each and every faculty and staff member at Kingswood Oxford is committed to making sure that the Class of 2020 has a month of May they won’t forget, including a variety of special touches to celebrate this incredible group of students, athletes, musicians, and thespians.
As Tammi Terrel and Marvin Gaye sang, “There ain’ nothing like the real thing,” however, KO is trying to preserve as many traditions as possible in a meaningful way.
Wednesday mornings are “Senior Wednesdays.”
On May 6, Kingswood Oxford seniors drove through campus to pick up a special breakfast made by Kingswood Oxford’s Brian Woerlen and his team at SAGE dining. Students were greeted by chalk drawings of each of their names around the circle entrance, messages of “We miss you!” and “We love you class of 2020!”as well as a group of faculty, staff and the school mascot, Koko, who presented them with a box of pastries and a cup of hot chocolate. There was no shortage of smiles, waves, virtual hugs, and some bittersweet tears as they waved to one another and caught up in conversations through car windows.
The following Wednesday students drove their cars through the center circle lined with their photos to receive special items and treats from the Advancement team. More events followed on May 20 – as well as as a special drive-in event on what would have been graduation day.
Instead of graduation today, @WyvernNation was highlighted on the Schaller billboard in New Britain. Drive-in viewing w plenty of cheers, honking, & cowbell! Not graduation, just some out of the box thinking. More fun to come! @WyvernNation @WeHartford @NBCConnecticut pic.twitter.com/v5m9h7g5gf
— Kingswood Oxford (@WyvernNation) May 22, 2020
One staff member who was handing out treats said, “It was such a special morning. It was wonderful to see faces and smiles we have only seen through Zoom for so long now!”
Two other senior traditions, the signing of the senior rock and the burning of their initials into class plaque were accomplished through staggered times, social distancing measures, face masks and gloves. Normally, these events are a group affair where the students huddle closely together and cheer one another on when it’s their turn.
Other events like Class Night where the students perform songs and speak to their classmates and the Senior Prefect Skit which parodies the facility in a lighthearted way will be conducted via Zoom.
Although this is a trying time for the Class of 2020, they are handling their disappointment with grace and fortitude. Any lessons learned from this historic moment in time? As one senior said, who speaks for many, “Don’t take anything for granted. Enjoy every minute you are here with your friends and teachers.”
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