ALBANY — In addition to the traditional caps and gowns, Deerfield-Windsor School students received an article that will mark their May 16 graduation as memorable, a face mask adorned with the school logo.
Students were provided the masks for what was a ceremony held on the football field with appropriate social distancing to meet guidelines in place for the coronavirus crisis.
“What a memento from this time they’ll be able to show their grandchildren,” Deerfield Headmaster Allen Lowe said. “I’m just glad they were able to walk across that stage.”
Deerfield’s class of 48 graduates received their diplomas during the ceremony at which seniors were limited to 10 or fewer guests.
“It went fantastic,” Lowe said. “It was very good. All the seniors and parents who attended followed the measures we put in place.
“I think it gave our seniors and our families a lot of closure I think was really needed. To walk across that stage, even though our ceremony was different than any we’ve ever had, their uniqueness is going to be a thing (they remember) forever.”
The school also streamed the graduation ceremony online for friends and family members who were not able to attend.
After school campuses were closed in mid-March, students continued their classes through distance learning. Despite being away from classes at the school, students were kept on a consistent timetable.
“For our seniors, their class schedule never changed,” Lowe said. “The interaction between students and students, and students and teachers, was what they were missing. The teachers did a tremendous job of keeping students on track”
After the disappointment of senior mile markers that were missed due to restrictions put into place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Lowe said, the graduation ceremony meant a lot to parents and students.
The school consulted with law enforcement, city officials and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital to provide a safe environment.
“I think that after they got to a certain point, they all realized the hand they were dealt,” Lowe said.
Deerfield math teacher Alee Miller was the speaker for the ceremony.
“She gave a very good message regarding getting out of your comfort zone,” Lowe said.
All of the 2020 Deerfield graduates will attend a college or university in the fall, and students have accumulated $1.14 million in academic scholarships and one baseball scholarship.
Students put in a total of 6,350 hours of community service during their time at the school.