news 2 days ago

Like other schools, Westchester holds different commencement

The High Point Enterprise, N.C. — Paul B. Johnson The High Point Enterprise, N.C.

Aug. 01-- Aug. 1--HIGH POINT -- Like others at schools across the area, state and nation, Westchester Country Day School seniors, parents and educators took part in a graduation Saturday morning unlike any before and unlike any they ever expected.

The private school staged its commencement for the class of 2020 at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. The ceremony featured graduates, their loved ones and school faculty wearing masks and practicing social distancing -- the pomp and circumstance surrounding traditional commencement ceremonies altered for the COVID-19 reality. For those not able to attend due to limits on attendance because of the pandemic, the ceremony was shown live on the school's website.

Graduates and their families were spaced out in pews in the cavernous church sanctuary. Bagpiper Conrad Worley played and walked down the center aisle to start the ceremony, the sanctuary bathed in light streaming through picturesque stained-glass windows.

The seniors emerged from the rear of the stage and walked down the aisle individually to sit with their loved ones for the ceremony.

The class of 2020 featured 25 graduates, all of whom were accepted to at least one college or university. The valedictorian is Caroline Clodfelter while the salutatorian is Deanna "Deni" Lewis.

As each graduate came forward to accept their diploma, a faculty member read from a reflection personalized for each senior. That is a tradition that the school wanted to maintain for the 49th annual Westchester Country Day School commencement despite COVID-19, said Head of School Cobb Atkinson.

"We tried to preserve the traditions that we could," said Laurie Hogan, director of communications and marketing for the school.

The commencement originally was scheduled for the last Saturday of May. The school was determined to include as much as the traditional graduation format as possible, Atkinson told The High Point Enterprise.

"All of this is to honor our students. We want a celebratory moment for them, for their accomplishments," he said.

pjohnson@hpenews.com -- 336-888-3528 -- @HPEpaul

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(c)2020 The High Point Enterprise (High Point, N.C.)

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