As a community, the end of the academic year brings with it many joyful traditions and rites of passage in our schools. It is a time for celebrating the outstanding student accomplishments and recognizing all of their hard work. This year will most certainly not have the typical ending most imagined. But it can still be one that has many positive, lasting memories.
We all want this senior class to have their special day. I too am saddened for our students, not only as the superintendent of schools, but also as a parent of a graduating Verona High School senior. We recognize the disappointment resulting from the traditional format not being possible this year. We care about this class, so much in fact, that we are not willing to jeopardize their health or that of the Verona community with a physical congregation.
Despite such challenges, graduating high school remains a momentous occasion. It is a celebration where our students’ efforts and accomplishments are applauded. Our administrative team has been working around the clock since March discussing plans to maintain the end of the year traditions in a safe and responsible manner. Several weeks ago, we actively solicited ideas from our senior student body, in addition to receiving parent feedback.
Our celebratory plans are being finalized and will include maintaining social distancing in line with guidelines from the state government and public health officials. The Verona High School Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony will be in virtual format with an individual, in-person component practicing social distancing. Plans for our 8th grade Promotion Ceremony and the Fourth Grade Farewells are being finalized and will be entirely virtual. Details surrounding each event will be communicated to families from building principals in the coming days.
What I know for sure is that the past few months will no doubt shape our students. But what it doesn’t have to do is define their future. Commencement, by definition, is a beginning or the start of something new, not the end. I have come to know so many of our seniors on a personal level since their early elementary school years. My hope for this class is that each senior uses this time as a seminal moment in their lives where they translate adversity into opportunity. It is always darkest before the dawn, but the sun always comes up even when one can’t see it. Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020.
All my best,
Dr. Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools