Commencements celebrated safely amidst pandemic

FAIRFIELD COUNTY—The coronavirus pandemic has posed unique challenges for all. For the Class of 2020, this meant not getting to enjoy the usual rites of passage as they reached the culmination of their either middle or high school years. Schools throughout the diocese found innovative ways to still celebrate their students—through social distanced graduation ceremonies, giving students the opportunity to take pictures with their family on campus, and more. Here are just a few snapshots of graduation ceremonies in a pandemic.

St. Rose of Lima

NEWTOWN—St. Rose School’s eighth-grade graduation ceremony which took place on Friday, June 26 in the school parking lot. Mr. Gjoka, principal, Mrs. Petrillo, eighth-grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Bokuniewicz, dean of student life and Msgr. Bob, pastor, along with the class parents, worked very hard to make the celebration possible despite these different times.

Chairs were arranged alphabetically for every student and their parents. The ceremony was limited to parents and siblings only to adhere to safety measures. Every student and guest wore a mask.

There are 24 graduates, all going off to a variety of high schools including Newtown High School, Immaculate High School, St. Joseph High School, Canterbury, Fairfield Prep, Hopkins School and The Gunnery. Several of the students received merit scholarships based on their entrance test scores.

St. Joseph High School

TRUMBULLSt. Joseph High School conferred diplomas upon 213 students on Saturday, July 11, 2020. The Class of 2020 achieved a 100 percent college acceptance rate, with 99 percent going on to four-year schools, and earned for themselves over 25 million dollars in scholarships and tuition assistance.

The Blessing and Conferral of Diplomas was held at Dalling Field on the school’s campus. Parents were confined to their cars, while the graduates were socially distanced in masks on the lower field, in conformance with the CDC and State of Connecticut guidelines. During the ceremony, pre-recorded videos from Ms. Vicki A. Tesoro, first selectman of the Town of Trumbull and Mr. Christopher Wilson, chairman of the board of St. Joseph High School, offered their congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020.

Your graduation is not like any other. But then the Class of 2020 is unlike any other,” remarked recently retired head of school, Dr. William Fitzgerald during his speech. “Ironically, in February, we were talking about how to get the iPhones out of your hands. Today, we are looking to you—the social media generation—to understand what continuous learning is all about. This spring has showed us, that in many ways, this is already your world and we are just catching up.”

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy

WILTON—On Friday evening, June 12, 2020, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy held commencement exercises for its graduating eighth-grade class. Featured commencement speakers were Clara and Gerry Davis, parents of a graduating student and Stanley Steele, school principal. The event included a Mass celebrated in the church parking lot and homily offered by Our Lady of Fatima Church pastor, Father Reginald Norman.

The graduates will attend the following high schools in the fall (listed alphabetically): Fairfield College Preparatory School, Immaculate High School-Danbury, Lauralton Hall-Milford, New Canaan High School, Norwalk High School, Notre Dame High School-Fairfield, Saint Joseph High School-Trumbull and Wilton High School.