FAIR LAWN, NJ - A festive drive-by graduation, that's the gift COVID-19 left for Fair Lawn 2020 High School graduates, a process that lasted approximately three hours on the morning of June 22 when students received their diplomas.
The caravan of graduates started at Memorial Park and ended in the back of the high school, according to board trustee Michael Rosenberg. A virtual graduation was held at 6:15 p.m. last night. Each graduate passed by the high school's proverbial front door facing Berdan Avenue. While Berdan Avenue is the front of the school, students enter daily in the rear of the school.
And that was where all the real action took place, according to Rosenberg.
"Pomp and Circumstance was playing," he said. "They stopped by the first rear doors and picked up a goody bag worth of stuff. Then, they pulled up to the rear entrance. Mr. Gorski, the principal, called their name and with the help of Mr. Norcia and Assistant Principal Nicole Mattina, they were handed their diploma through their car window by Mr. Gorski and a picture was taken as board president Ron Barbarulo (proud father of a graduate) and I looked on and cheered."
Rosenberg said the Rescue Squad and the Ambulance Corps was in the parking lot, as well, especially making noise for their members which could be heard throughout the area.
Before receiving their diplomas, students drove by the "front" of Fair Lawn High School, each numbered with the graduate's name on it, mostly driven by a family member and a graduate sticking out from the roof or waving from a side window.
Approximately 370 senior class students graduated from the population of just under 1,500 students in grades 9-12 at the high school.
The students' senior year was marked by three months of classes from home as the COVID-19 pandemic locked them and their families indoors, relegating learning to home and depriving them of almost all senior activities from sports to trips, to simple memories of lunch with a friend in the cafeteria or a meeting of an afterschool club.
Nonetheless, it was all smiles the morning of June 22 when the students waved goodbye to their Fair Lawn schooling and looked forward to jobs and college in the fall.