To say 2020 has been a challenge for schools and students — high school seniors, in particular — is an understatement that bears the weight of a coronavirus pandemic that shutdown everything known as normal to people everywhere the last three months of the academic year.
Social distancing, contact tracing, Zoom, lawn signs, Google Classroom, distance learning, dispensation and so many more words that had little meaning before the middle of March came to be known as part of a drastic life change.
Proms for most everyone, musical productions for some and spring sports seasons all around were just a few of the rites of passage eliminated for this Class of 2020.
And then there were graduations.
Scrambling to maintain safety precautions aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus, schools were charged with maintaining health while attempting to create special moments for these seniors who have been deprived of so much.
The Diocese of Wilmington uniquely encompasses two states, another curveball in trying to present a return to normalcy. Guidelines in Delaware and Maryland were similar but different when it came to large gathering restrictions and other precautions.
Through it all, administrators, teachers, parents, families and students have endured. In some cases, they are still dealing with delayed and curtailed graduations and at least in one case, a ceremony that had not yet been rescheduled as of late this week.
It is more of the same tumultuous menu of disarray provided by coronavirus.
The Dialog was not immune. The biweekly newspaper of the Diocese of Wilmington shifted to an online-only presence in mid-March when Bishop Malooly decided not to have public Masses until it was safe to do so. The print edition is distributed in churches, so without its point-of-pickup venues, the newspaper could not reach its regular audience in 56 parishes and other Catholic facilities.
Still, the newspaper’s graduation section is annually one of the highlights for the newspaper. The keepsake edition was scheduled for June 5. Editors, reporters and business operations people were determined to provide this senior class what it has for the better part of a half century.
So today, you are looking at the “pages” of the section here on thedialog.org. It isn’t entirely complete at the moment. Some schools have not yet revealed their award winners. We’re not going to spill the beans on that. At least one school didn’t have a definite date for its graduation. We’ll keep on top that and make that information public as soon as we have it.
We will be updating this digital section throughout coming weeks as more information becomes available. Nothing that we normally include will be left out. Our plan is to print this section as soon as we are able to publish a print edition of The Dialog that can be distributed in churches.
And may it be a joyous gift to the ever-stronger Class of 2020.