With, as they say, “an abundance of caution”—including face coverings and physical distancing—the Class of 2020 gathered with faculty on the Ashwood campus on June 5 for a live, in-person graduation ceremony. Scroll down for pictures.

The ceremony began with a keynote from school director Jody Spanglet celebrating the students’ journey through Ashwood. This was followed by spoken-word or musical performances by each of the students. Play performances, field trips, class traditions, recess time, and practical jokes were among the memories shared, along with performances on cello, keyboard, and violin. Class teacher, Jeremy Clough, spoke about his sense of hope, despite the chaotic state of the world. The faculty sang Donna Hébert’s “Blessing” (see lyrics below), and students picked up diplomas after a playful “elbow bump” with their teacher. Red roses hitched a ride with the diplomas, reminding students of their yearlong connection with their first and second grade buddies. The ceremony ended with wind-made bubbles surrounding the graduates as strings teacher Sophie Davis played “Calliope House.” After the ceremony, the students were invited to take home a box of homemade cupcakes to share with family members—made by our own Jessica Wheeler.

The faculty was thrilled to be able to share this moment of celebration with the Class of 2020 after a lengthy spring of separation. We were, as well, deeply saddened that parents were not able to attend because of the current Maine CDC guideline against gatherings larger than 50. Working within these restrictions, faculty and parents came up with a variety of creative ways to include families. The ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook as well as videotaped for families to watch at their leisure. Mid-ceremony, students held up handmade signs thanking their parents and families, and at pickup time, parents and siblings arrived in festively decorated cars, blowing noisemakers and greeting the newly minted 8th and 9th graders.