MILLBURN, NJ — When the COVID-19 pandemic stole the last stretch of senior year, the Millburn High School Class of 2020 began their quest to salvage bits and pieces of their remaining time in the district. While a timetable for graduation opened up eventually, and seniors were treated to a decision day car parade, the question of if and when graduation might occur still hung over their heads.

On Friday night, students in the district got the answer they had been hoping for, as senior class president Jamie Serruto announced a series of five graduations, to be held consecutively on July 8.

"The class officers have been working closely with school administration and our senior celebration committee," Serruto said, noting that any plans for an in person graduation to take place were built to comply with the timetable for lifting governor Murphy's orders.

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"The class of 2020 now has the ability to have in person graduation ceremonies, and we're proud to officially have a date," he added."

One of the key points Serruto stressed was that students all felt the need to gather in some fashion to celebrate graduation, even if the ceremony were broken up into smaller groups. But he also noted that the ability to have as normal a ceremony as possible was important.

"We're still releasing our virtual graduation video on June 24," Serruto said. "But we can't wait to get in our caps and gowns and walk."

Having the date set in stone is also giving students a sense of needed closure for students, who have had all their senior milestones jumbled up. It also gives students a chance to walk in front of their parents and show off the culmination of everything they have done.

"It still allows for a direct closure to the school year," Serruto said. "You're not dealing with something in August [or] having to do something in November."

Serruto thanked the community and the parent/student partnerships for the opportunity to have these ceremonies. He also noted that the planning committee would continue to check that their plan for graduation would ensure the safety of all those in attendance by complying with health statutes.

Finally, Serruto said that for Millburn's seniors, the mood was now jubilant knowing they would get to walk in some fashion.

"The class of 2020 is thrilled," Serruto said. "Despite the pandemic, the partnership between the students and the administration has led to this moment of triumph. We have beat the virus, and we will be celebrating the class of 2020."

In addition to graduation, Serruto also said that the senior class was still looking to plan the end-of-year activities for sometime later this summer.