Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marion Street, Waverly Park and West End elementary schools were unable to hold their traditional graduation ceremonies. That did not stop the principals and faculty though from making the moving up events special for their fifth grade graduates. The Class of 2020 moved up to middle school in style with festive drive-through graduation celebrations on June 15. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak and board members were present at all three events to support the graduates and congratulate them.
At Marion Street Elementary School, staff members lined the sidewalk outside the school with banners and signs to cheer on the graduates as they drove with their families down the street. Cars were decorated with balloons, colorful signs, window paint and more to mark the special occasion. At the end of the street, Principal Theresa Macchia announced each graduates name as they pulled up in their car. She also handed them a graduation goodie bag and congratulated them before they drove under the large balloon arch into the next chapter of their academic journey. In addition, Marion Street retirees Steve Freifeld and Marianna Flannery were honored during the event. They sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk with matching T-shirts and crowns and waved to the graduates as they passed. At the end of the event, the Marion Street staff conducted a special send-off for the retirees.
Waverly Park Principal Allison Banhazl and staff members also transformed the outside of their school building into a graduation celebration. Fifth grade teachers kicked off the ceremony by walking up the circle of the school in green caps and gowns. One by one, each graduate was announced by Ms. Banhazl as they drove up in their decorated cars to the school with their families. Staff members cheered them on as they made the drive to the podium. Fifth grade teachers gifted each graduate with a goodie bag and certificate. Students also posed for a photo in a large cardboard Class of 2020 picture frame.
At West End Elementary School, a white and red balloon arch at the entrance of the school parking lot welcomed fifth grade graduates to their graduation celebration. Each class arrived at a designated time where the fifth grade teachers, wearing matching outfits and graduation sashes, were eager to greet them. Students and their loved ones entered the parking lot in their decorated vehicles as Dr. Lee announced each graduates name and any special awards they received. Each student was also presented with a gift from their teacher and the PTA. A DJ filled the parking lot with upbeat music, staff members and several Lynbrook North Middle School students held signs and cheered on the Class of 2020, and a photographer took a photo of each student in their car.
Prior to the drive-through graduations, each school also posted a graduation video for students and families to watch on the district website.