After overcoming the challenges of completing their final year at RCDS during a global pandemic, a rainy evening certainly did not prevent the Class of 2020 from being honored with a moving outdoor graduation ceremony on Wednesday, July 8.
“2020 was a whirlwind,” said eighth-grade commencement speaker Lydia Olivieri. “It brought many obstacles we could have never predicted. But today, we stand here having overcome it all. We are strong and together we leave our brownstone church on the corner, more united than we have ever been before.”
The Class of 2020 embraced an extraordinary situation that made their path to graduation more challenging than ever, emphasizing their already impressive accomplishments, and earning them praise when they finally got the chance to experience a sendoff they deserved.
The impact of COVID-19 robbed students of meaningful moments long held sacred to eighth graders ranging from the simple concept of hugging beloved teachers goodbye to more distinctive traditions like bonding as a class on the annual Boston trip. RCDS successfully reimagined many of the hallmark experiences for its students, but their sacrifices did not go unnoticed.
Despite the circumstances, the support of RCDS’s tight-knit community and steadfast focus on the school’s four pillars – Kind, Honest, Responsible, Respectful – gave this year’s graduates, our next generation of leaders, the opportunity to exemplify their strength and embodiment of these qualities. These characteristics are the reason RCDS graduates stand out in the community, thrive at some of the most selective high schools and colleges in the country, and can be attributed to how they successfully overcame an event that will be written about in history books. The Class of 2020 has left a legacy at RCDS that will forever impact the school community and has certainly inspired a hopeful and bright future.
In addition to the touching commencement on July 8, the RCDS community organized a number of special deliveries to the Class of 2020 to recognize their sacrifices and accomplishments. Among them were peonies presented as a symbol of honor and good fortune along with a heartfelt message from Head of School Jayne Geiger.
"Each spring as your peonies blossom, recall that rain has made them grow strong and thrive as you did in the Spring of 2020. May your peonies always inspire you and symbolize our bountiful wishes for prosperity, honor, good fortune, beauty, and happiness that lasts for 100 years."