During the COVID-19 pandemic, local schools, like the entire country, have had to figure out creative ways to honor the class of 2020. Many schools used technology to give their students a celebration, while others surprised them at their homes to give them supplies, awards and more.
Here are some ways south Brooklyn honored its students.
At I.S. 201, 8010 12th Ave., faculty, administrators and PTA members visited more than 500 eighth-graders to show school pride and supply them with gifts.
“I was surprised when the doorbell rang and my teacher was standing there with a graduation sign,” said Stiliani Raptis. “It was a bittersweet experience. It was sweet because my school thought of me and my class to personally deliver our signs, yet it was bitter because I’m graduating and leaving Dyker Heights behind.”
The entire senior class of more than 100 students at Fontbonne Hall Academy participated in a special car parade to mark their last day of classes. It gave them the opportunity to celebrate with one another despite distant learning.
The caravan assembled near the 69th Street Pier on Bay Ridge Avenue and traveled along Shore Road to the school at 9901 Shore Rd.
The school was decorated with balloons, a banner, and pictures of the graduates along the fence.
“The car parade was truly a beautiful experience, especially being able to see all my fellow classmates and teachers,” said Isabella Gargano.
Bay Ridge Prep created “Operation: Tiger Surprise.” Twenty faculty and staff members surprised students by making visits outside their homes and giving gifts such as caps and gowns, treats and in-person congratulations.
“Before quarantine, the teachers at our school were obviously big parts of our lives and meant a lot to us because of the journey we had taken through high school,” said student Moses Millman. “Getting to see them again meant a lot to me because it solidified the fact that even though we are moving on to a different part of our lives we still have a support system at a school that meant so much to us.”
P.S. 172, 825 4th Ave, hosted a graduation parade in Sunset Park.
“It was great to see so many people from our community,” said Alexa Aviles, advocate and former PTA president. “It was not the traditional rite of passage but it was lovely to celebrate the young people with a socially distant graduation march.”
Advocates and organizations put up a banner at the wall of Sunset Park on the corner of 44th Street and Fifth Avenue for parents, neighbors and students to sign and write messages of positivity in four different languages.
“We had lots of people just stop by and say, ‘I don’t have a graduate but I want to send my love and best wishes,’” said Aviles.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes led a massive community-wide cheer for all south Brooklyn graduates on June 12.
“Our neighborhoods are so proud of our young people,” he said. “I thought it was important to do something extra to celebrate their remarkable achievements as they go on to the next stage in life, and continue to shape our city, state and nation for the better.”
Xaverian High School faculty and administrators traveled to the homes of several graduates to give out awards. Many of these students received trophies to commemorate their achievements and were highlighted on Facebook.