Severn School’s 106th graduating class recently joined in the longstanding tradition to receive their diploma and walk across the stage on Alumni House lawn. In honor of their official commencement on May 29, Severn hosted a socially distant graduation ceremony for the 102 seniors on May 20.
Arriving at Teel Campus, graduates and their immediate families were greeted with a ‘90 banner along Evergreen Road displaying each graduate’s name. The scoreboard flashed “2020,” and from the parking area, flowing maroon and white ribbons flanked the walkway to the lawn. To maintain social distancing and small group gathering protocols, families arrived at scheduled times throughout the five-hour time span.
As graduates donned their caps and gowns, proud parents and siblings shared smiles and laughter. Before crossing the stage, graduates and families stopped at the first of three photo stations, graciously provided by Maryland Stork Lady.
Graduates approached the stage and were greeted with an audience of 170 smiling “faces” of the Severn School faculty and staff.
Headmaster Doug Lagarde called each student’s name and with diploma in hand, they walked across the stage. Wearing Severn School face masks, Lagarde and Upper School Head Steve Soden gave air high-fives and air fist bumps. The school filmed the graduates as they took their time crossing the stage, turning to smile for their parents and proudly displaying their diploma.
Students were then surprised with an amusing second photo station - cardboard cutouts of Lagarde and Soden.
“What a memorable and much appreciated day!” shared Jennie Kantowski, faculty member and parent of graduate Joe Kantowski. “Given all that we had working against us, you rose to the occasion and provided our family with a wonderful way to see Joseph formally graduate. The set-up, decorations, photos, execution … were amazing!”
After graduates and families looked back one last time at the faculty audience and Lagarde and Soden waving on the stage, they took their official diploma photo and a family group photo. The videography and photos were then used in a virtual webinar graduation ceremony on May 29. Students and families tuned in for the traditional commencement speeches, graduation awards and further celebration of the class of 2020.
The final piece of this unique ceremony was Lagarde’s gift to each graduate. A woodworker, Lagarde used the wood from a box elder that had fallen on Severn’s campus this fall to craft 102 unique pens, enclosed in an engraved keepsake box.
“Thank you, Severn faculty, for your creativity and extra efforts to make this event special for our 2020 graduates,” parent Robin Kidder expressed. “All of the special touches were greatly appreciated.”