MORRISTOWN, NJ - Graduation time for the Class of 2020 seemed unlikely months ago, but the Morristown High School seniors had their official in-person graduation ceremony yesterday and today.
Because of Gov. Phil Murphy's COVID-19-related restrictions on crowd size, the high school had to split the 2020 graduating class into three separate ceremonies to maintain social distancing during the graduation ceremony. The school held two ceremonies, which took place on the MHS football field, yesterday and one today.
Students and two guests, all who were wearing masks, were escorted onto the field and seated together, but socially distant from their classmates.
Morristown High School Principal Mark Manning thanked everyone for coming.
"I would like to begin by congratulating our graduates and their families", said Manning. "The past 3 1/2 months have been a truly unprecedented and challenging time for all of you. In particular our graduates."
This group of seniors had a senior year like no other class. There was no prom, no spring musical, no spring sports season and no in-person learning. In addition to an in-person graduation, the school had a virtual graduation, a virtual senior awards ceremony and a drive by diploma pick up. Manning expressed his hope that the in-person graduations were able to give the graduates some closure.
"As a result of conditions outside of your control, you have been forced to forego so many of the traditional celebrations and milestones associated with graduating from high school", said Manning. "And for that, I am deeply saddened and sorry. Our hope is that with some of the events that we planned for you over the past month, including today's ceremony, you are able to experience a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of closure with your experience at Morristown High School."
Manning offered some advice to the graduating class.
"No matter how carefully you plan, something may always go wrong", said Manning. "When these situations arise in your future, I encourage you to remain hopeful,flexible and resilent. When presented with disappointment, you may want to pause, take a step back and find alternative solutions to what you were hoping to achieve. The most important thing is that you never give up on achieving your goals, no matter what obstacles stand in your way".
Each senior was individually recognized by name and stood when their name was called. Cap throwing wasn't allowed but seniors stood, moved their tassel from the right side to the left. Manning then proclaimed that the seniors had graduated.
"Congratulations graduates", he said as the crowd clapped.
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