On Saturday morning, July 18, Chatham Charter School will hold Commencement Exercises for its Class of 2020. There are 45 members of the graduating class, but Saturday’s ceremony will be for the remaining 44. On May 2, one senior, who had to report early to Marine Corps recruit training due to COVID-related schedule changes, graduated during a special ceremony in the high school lobby with only his family and recruiter in the audience. Others were able to watch via live stream.
During the July 18th service, anyone will be able to watch via live stream, but only a single car for each family will drive through to the staging area. The ceremony will be held at the main entrance of the elementary building. Families will also have the option while on campus to listen to the ceremony through a radio transmitted broadcast. Faculty and staff are invited to cheer graduates and their families on from their cars while parked in an adjacent parking lot.
Luz Borrayo and Noah Carter have been chosen by their peers to give speeches. Burrayo will reflect on class memories while Carter will give a class challenge. Many other elements of the school’s annual ceremony will still be part of the 2020 one, including a welcome and class highlights by Head of School Dr. John Eldridge and the traditional ‘nod to the knight’ by graduates as they walk offstage. The gesture is a symbolic way for graduating Knights to say goodbye as they venture to their next challenges.
Seniors Borrayo (left) and Carter will address their fellow classmates in the July 18 commencement.
Starting a school year in early August, the Chatham Charter senior class normally graduates each year in mid-May. This year’s ceremony was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 16. School administration worked closely with families to give them multiple options for alternate dates and campus ceremony formats, all contingent on how state COVID metrics evolved. Ultimately, the families voted to wait as late into the summer as possible hoping state gathering numbers would allow a version of the traditional school ceremony with the graduating class together in person and family members in attendance, even if everyone had to social distance. Unfortunately, statewide progress has been slow so school administration opted for a drive thru format like many other high schools.
In late April a small team of administration and staff drove to senior homes to deliver graduation regalia, an extra cap to decorate, snacks, and yard signs as an encouragement.