Chapin then turned the ceremony over to Head of Upper School Peter Newcomb, who acknowledged the impact that the class has had on those in the Masters community. “It can be a difficult time for hope,” he said. “And yet, you and your classmates have given all of us a reason to be hopeful.” He then presented the class with a word cloud image, a copy of which each student received later that day during the drive-through car parade. It was filled with words that faculty used to describe the Class of 2020, such as creative, resilient, smart, caring, kind and curious.
The celebration included a slideshow featuring all the seniors and concluded with remarks from Dean of the Class of 2020 and Dean of Students Jeff Carnevale, who reminded the class that “The power for good that we are all charged with is a part of you now.” He challenged the seniors to “seek a life useful” by spreading the four values of connection, help, gratitude and optimism.
The ceremony included traditional Commencement elements, such as the “Alma Mater,” which this year was sung by graduating members of Dobbs 16 who collaborated virtually on the piece. The “Old Irish Blessing,” which is traditionally sung to the graduates during graduation, took on a new and moving form: parents, students, faculty, alumnae/i and siblings recorded the song entirely remotely and presented the song as a gift to the class.
That afternoon, dozens of festively decorated cars filled with the seniors and their families paraded through campus. As the graduates passed through the campus they had come to know so well, they waved from windows and sunroofs to faculty, who – socially distanced — lined the roads through campus and held up signs bearing words of pride and congratulations. After months of being separated due to stay-at-home orders, seniors’ and teachers’ excitement and joy at seeing each other in person was palpable.
It was a fittingly festive way to honor and celebrate a class of students that has so uniquely demonstrated, by rising to the challenges presented to them this spring, what it means to Do It With Thy Might.