Opinion: Community helps make NNCS graduation successful, HS principal says
To the Editor:
Norwood-Norfolk celebrated its Class of 2020 graduation ceremony on Friday, June 26 at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the school. When school buildings were closed in March, it was difficult to believe that we would still be closed in June. Students and staff adjusted to online learning and teaching quickly. I am impressed by how hard everyone worked and the success that we had.While we have learned that we can make online school work, it in no way replaced or was as good as being together. Students and staff struggled as traditional events did not occur. We missed the musical, pep rally, spring sports, concerts, art shows, Dessert Night, prom, and the everyday contact we had with each other.
We will remember this as a time where we learned how important people are to each other and how we came together to take care of each other.
As graduation approached, we knew we had to celebrate because the students had missed so much already. Weekly zoom meetings with the senior class and their willingness to adhere to state guidelines affirmed how much these students wanted graduation and to be together one last time.
We continually revised plans as we were given more flexibility due to improving conditions in New York State. With the collaboration of students, guidance from St. Lawrence County Department of Health and help from many people, we were able to host a graduation ceremony that allowed all students to be together one more time. This was no easy feat and I have many people to recognize and thank.
Thank you to: Seniors who met and gave input about what they wanted and what was most important to them; Roger LaRose who built the stages and designed the layout of the parking lot; custodians who cleaned, set up graduation and assisted with parking;
Jason Hubbard who took pictures; Amanda Ives and Natalie Lucas, Class of 2020 advisors, who organized meetings and helped at graduation; Jonathan Burnett who helped with sound;
Dave Coffey and Erik Key who streamed the event live on YouTube; Dan Lawrence who took aerial photography; Willow Tree who loaned us plants for the stage; Norwood Lake Association who purchased a balloon arch; All Night Party parents who assisted with communication; Amy Robert who helped to plan and organize the event and live streamed the event on Facebook; and transportation for providing a bus and Michelle Quenneville for driving the bus.
A huge thank you to the Norwood and Norfolk Fire, Rescue and Police Departments, Potsdam Rescue, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police who helped with planning and led the procession through all three communities.
Thank you to residents and staff who lined the streets to celebrate with us. The support of the community was overwhelming. We are so lucky to live in such great communities.
Thank you to the Board of Education and Mr. Cruikshank for their support during this uncertain time and evolving plans.
Thank you to parents and students who were patient and flexible as we continued to modify plans including changing the date at the last minute to avoid storms.
Finally, thank you to the Graduates of 2020 for being positive, flexible, resilient and leaders during this historic time period. Go out and make a difference. We will miss you.
“Flyer Pride Norwood Norfolk Strong.”
Norwood-Norfolk Central HS Principal