In-Person Commencement is On! 

Will there be a Northwood Commencement Ceremony this year?  

That has been the question in the minds of many seniors and their families for many months, as the 2020-21 school year starts to come to an end. After abruptly leaving campus during the 2019-20 school year with news that there would be no inperson commencement due to the coronavirus pandemic, commencement festivities have been a question for school officials, students, and families.  

Many aspects of the ceremony will be like any non-pandemic year, including ringing the victory bell. (Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge from commencement on May 14, 2016)

Early in 2021 the school announced that there would be commencement, but that seniors should expect a very different ceremony from the typical Northwood graduation. A typical Northwood graduation includes a senior banquet with graduates and their guests, along with Northwood underclass students and staffThe banquet also included awards and yearbook signing. The next day commencement ceremony would be held with again graduates, their guests, and Northwood underclassman and staff. Seniors knew that banquet was canceled, but they were uncertain about the other details about commencement, including how many guests would be allowed to attend.  

Recently Assistant Head of School, Mr. John Spear, updated the Northwood Community in a school-wide emailGraduates would be permitted to bring up to four guests, but all guests must be fully vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. School for students in grades 9-11 will end several days before graduation and will not attend commencement unless they are invited guests of a graduate. The other elements of commencement – speakers, awards, the procession/recession of graduates, ringing the victory bell, and bag pipes – will be nearly identical to a traditional Northwood graduation.  

After receiving the email, Northwood seniors shared their opinions amongst each other. Some were happy that up to 4 guests were allowed and commencement would be somewhat normal, but some were disappointed that friends and fellow classmates from other grades would not be able to attend, unless as one of the four guest per graduate. After catching up with a few seniors here are their thoughts:  

I am very grateful to have a graduation this year,” said Amelia Brady ‘21. While I wish we could have the graduation ceremony that I experienced in my first two years at Northwood, I know Northwood will do their absolute best to make it memorable. I think considering the vaccine and outdoor ceremony, this will be a very COVIDsafe event, Brady added.  

Obviously I wish everyone was able to go to grad, but with the circumstances of COVID, having my parents be able to watch me walk the stage is pretty cool!” said Lars Kroes ‘21. “It is better than nothing. My brother is graduating from Cornell this spring, and none of my family can go, so we should feel fortunate to have it in person with our parents,” added KroseThe biggest part of grad is being with our class and experiencing it together, that is the most important thing for me!” 

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