The St. Joseph’s Academy class of 2020 experienced a unique graduation ceremony on May 17. With social-distancing and crowd-size restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduates came to campus with their parents/stepparents in groups of 16 or 17 in 30-minute intervals to receive their diplomas.
The 262 members of the class of 2020 met all standards for graduation as prescribed by the Academy. Nearly 60 percent of the class earned $19.76 million in scholarships. (This figure does not include TOPS awards, which have yet to be determined for this class.)
Following a tightly choreographed schedule, families began arriving at SJA at 9 a.m. Remaining in their vehicles, they were arranged in alphabetical order; received earned medals, cords, stoles and certificates; then moved to an on-campus parking lot with numbered parking spots. When directed by an SJA representative to exit their vehicles, families moved to a series of carefully spaced tents to make their way toward the back of St. Joseph Hall.
There, each senior, accompanied by her parents, was announced by longtime SJA faculty member Jill Abadie and received her diploma from Principal Stacia B. Andricain. The conferring of diplomas was recorded on video cameras.
Each graduate then received a red rose, courtesy of the SJA Alumnae Association, from President Jan Rhorer Breen. Graduates then posed for a family picture and received a miniature bundt cake, courtesy of their little sisters from the class of 2023, and five copies of the keepsake graduation program.
Families returned to their vehicles to exit the parking lot, making room for the next group’s arrival. The last group of graduates received their diplomas at 5 p.m.
A video of the commencement exercises is being produced by the SJA communications department. It will feature the conferring of diplomas, the salutatory address by Mary Catherine Daniels, the valedictory address by Shreya Reshamwala, the sending forth by Breen and the singing of the alma mater by Annie Blanchard. The video will be shared on several media platforms before the end of May.
Working to make graduation special for the class of 2020 was the team of Principal Stacia Andricain, Registrar Kristen Belanger, Assistant to the Registrar and faculty member Stacy Rennhoff, Dean of Academics Aubrey DeJohn, Dean of Women Erika Angarita, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction Aimee Wiles, Assistant to the Deans Cristina Scott, President Jan Breen, Communications Director Mindy Averitt, Digital Marketing & Analytics Director Jennifer Fontaine, Media Coordinator Erin Albarado, Media Arts faculty members Sara Rounds and Meghan McGinty, English faculty member Jill Abadie and Lighting/Sound Director and Theology faculty member Hugo Andricain. Numerous faculty members helped with logistics and directions in the parking lots.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Erin Albarado, Meghan McGinty and Sara Rounds