The 112 members of the Class of 2020 graduated from William Penn Charter School on Saturday, June 6, in a one-of-a-kind, virtual and prerecorded ceremony streamed online to the graduates and to hundreds of their friends and family. The ceremony could not be held at school because Penn Charter's campus closed in March and remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"You have been and are a remarkable class," Head of School Darryl J. Ford said in remarks he recorded earlier in the week from PC's back patio, the traditional setting of PC Commencement. Ford listed the academic, artistic, athletic and service achievements of the class and acknowledged that the graduation occurs as the country is experiencing social protest from coast to coast.
"Beyond these accolades, here is the most important thing for you to know," Ford said. "After this pandemic and social unrest resolve, you still will be a class of remarkable achievement. The hope that all of your parents felt the day you were born and the hope and promise that your teachers felt on your first day of kindergarten at PC, or whenever you first came to our school, is the hope that your families and faculty place in you to mend the world."
Ford awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Award for achievement in scholarship to Theodore Cavanagh.
Jalynn Johnson received the Senior Award, presented by Alumni Society President Rob Frieman OPC '87, presented to a member of the senior class who on qualification of scholarship, character, leadership and athletic ability exemplifies the best Penn Charter type. The finalists for the award were also honored: Sarah Foley, Anastasia Lewis and Madelynn Solow.
The 90-minute, prerecorded graduation celebration includes several student-produced videos and photo montages; musical performance, including the Quakers Dozen performing "Rainbow Connection." (Thanks, Disney, for granting permission!). Michael Casimir OPC '09, a violist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and graduating senior Paige McAllister performed Penn Charter's alma mater – Michael on viola, and Paige on vocals. Students in the Class of 2020 wanted to hear messages from several teachers; there were seven heartfelt messages from teachers in Lower, Middle and Upper School.
Later in the day, students and their families were invited to campus for a socially distanced diploma pickup and family photo op. A contingent of faculty and staff were on hand to cheer as graduates picked up their diplomas, and a yellow rose for the girls, and posed for portraits.
In addition to Ford's address, the celebration featured remarks from five speakers.
Clerk of Overseers Jeff Reinhold P '12.
Senior Class Clerk Patrick Cannon OPC '20, delivering his remarks from the bell tower in a cap and gown and shorts.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!