LC Changes Plans for Graduation

Ryan Fortani '22, Staff Writer

On April 8, Head of School Dr. Sheila Culbert sent to the class of 2020 a letter addressing the fate of this year’s graduation. This letter also formally announced the cancellation of the graduation ceremony on Founders Circle that was originally scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.
In her letter, Dr. Culbert promised “that we will have a graduation ceremony, a Commencement, for the Class of 2020, on Founders Circle, in front of the Loomis Homestead, just as soon as we can.”
She made clear that while the Commencement ceremony may not be at the end of the class of 2020’s high school career, it will carry the same weight and grandeur that every other graduation ceremony on the Island has held. Granted, it will not be able to replace a properly timed commencement.
Originally, Dr. Culbert announced a transition to virtual learning and worked to try to meet the seniors in the middle by waiting to see if postponing commencement was necessary.
“The issue for the seniors, and quite frankly I feel very deeply for them, is, so we understand we have to be online, but really, cancelling graduation? Does that have to happen? I said we can wait on that and we can think about that for a little longer,” Dr. Culbert said.
However, as the pandemic continued to evolve and grow in severity, it became clear that Commencement could not be held on Memorial Day Weekend. The seniors will still graduate\; however, the typical, on-campus ceremony, a constant throughout Loomis History, has been postponed.
“Our seniors will graduate at the end of this term. However, we will not be able to celebrate them on campus on Memorial Day weekend. So we will need to think about when we will be able to bring people back, when will we be able to have a ceremony. I promised the seniors we will do something. We will do everything to make it the full pomp and circumstance ceremony that we typically have. We will do that,” Dr. Culbert said.
Dr. Culbert emphasized that there truly is no way to completely remedy the situation and that this is a loss for our community—especially for the Class of 2020.
“We have to acknowledge that this is difficult. I think people need to give themselves space to mourn what they have lost and for some members of our community that is much more than others. This is an unprecedented moment, at least in recent history. And so, there’s a loss there. We should acknowledge that,” she said.
While there have not been any specific plans put in place, the Deans and the Academic Office are working closely with the Senior Class to try to find a way to honor them both this year and in a post-quarantine world.