WEST ESSEX, NJ — Ahead of next month's in-person graduation ceremony for the West Essex Class of 2020, faculty and administrators came together yesterday afternoon to deliver a memorable experience for the graduating seniors.
Pulling up through the front driveway of the school complex, students and their parents were taken on a circuitous route, with several stops along the way where graduating seniors got their yearbook and other mementos. One such keepsake was delivered to the students at the middle school, where they received a letter they had written to their future selves back in eighth grade.
Then, it was back down the hill, where t-shirts, a final senior edition of the Wessex Wire school paper and the aforementioned yearbooks were handed out.
For West Essex Principal Caesar Diliberto, the moment had him beaming with pride a the Class of 2020's perseverance in the face of less than ideal circumstances.
"I'm really proud of them," Diliberto said. "They all stepped up. The entire West Essex community stepped up. The faculty, the students administrations. I'll tell the students exactly what i think about what they've done this year a little bit more at graduation, but I am really proud of them.
"I do feel bad for them, of course. They missed out on so many memories and opportunities this year, but this is one of the ways that we hope to celebrate them."
Diliberto also said it was heartwarming to see what he called "our West Essex family" come together to help celebrate this milestone in the lives of the next generation of graduates from the school.
One of those seniors in the parade line was Josie Berger, who will be heading off to Tulane in the Fall to study business.
"I think it's great that we get to have this closure and celebration as a class, and just end the year really strong," Berger said.
And even though she is leaving her home school district for the first time, Berger is excited to go to a new city and get new experiences next year.
West Essex's in-person graduation will be July 9 at 10:00 a.m., with a rain date of July 10.