Commencement looks different this year; first graduating class for GALA

| June 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

MARLBOROUGH SCHOOL DRIVE-THROUGH COMMENCEMENT takes place on May 28, in the parking lot and driveways of the school, and features teachers cheering on their graduating students. Photo by Bill Devlin

Graduation is looking a little different for high school seniors this year. Many schools are hosting online events with an eye to having in-person celebrations or commencement ceremonies later on in the year. Some schools are trying different ways to make it special, such as yard signs announcing graduates, keepsake boxes, films celebrating the graduates and car parades.

GALA’s first graduating class

This year will be the inaugural graduating class for Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA).

“We are so proud that all of our girls are graduating, and 80 percent are going on to a four-year university — many with full scholarships,” said GALA’s principal Elizabeth Hicks. The school will have a virtual pre-recorded ceremony for its 43 seniors, which will be shown June 11.

An online baccalaureate service to recognize 16 graduating seniors at Episcopal School of Los Angeles will be held Thurs., June 4.

“We will hold our full-blown celebrations as soon as it is safe to do so and when we can get all of our graduates together,” noted Megan Holloway, chaplain at the school. This will include a commencement ceremony and dinner for the seniors and their families later in the year.

Almost 300 Harvard-Westlake graduates will accept  diplomas in a drive-through ceremony Fri., June 5, according to Ari Engelberg, head of communications at Harvard-Westlake.

Westridge School honored 63 graduating seniors with a car parade after the online commencement Fri., June 5.

Board chair Rick Caruso will address 303 Loyola High School seniors at a virtual graduation ceremony Sat., June 6.

An online ceremony was held for the 73 seniors graduating at Shalhevet Sun., June 7.

There will be 350 Fairfax High students graduating in an online ceremony Thurs., June 11.

Larchmont Charter High School will hold a virtual ceremony for 103 graduating seniors Fri., June 12.

Ceremonies later in the year

The 19 high school graduates at Pilgrim School were given yard signs and keepsake boxes to help celebrate their graduation. In addition, the school is making a film about the students and their families that will be shown at a drive-in event sometime in July. Kris Williams, librarian at Pilgrim School, said the film would incorporate many of the elements of their traditional baccalaureate service. They hope to have an in-person ceremony later in the year, perhaps in December.

Earlier ceremonies

There were 20 seniors who accepted diplomas at New Covenant Academy May 14 via a ceremony held over YouTube. A Zoom reception followed.

Marlborough School hosted a drive-through celebration for 88 graduating seniors May 28. Previously, each of the seniors had received a lawn sign for her family to display, proclaiming her status as a Marlborough graduate. In addition, there are plans to host an in-person gathering either in August or December, whichever is safe, said Carly Rodriguez, director of communications at Marlborough.

Marymount High School held a virtual ceremony for 108 seniors “with plenty of surprises for our families” at the end of May, said Stephanie David, director of marketing and communications at Marymount. David noted that an in-person celebration would be held sometime in the future, when it is allowed. 

Ninety-six young women graduated from Notre Dame Academy in a virtual ceremony May 30.

Christine Knudsen, longtime chair of Immaculate Heart High School’s theology department, who retired last year, addressed 118 seniors and their guests at Immaculate Heart’s virtual commencement Wed., June 3.

Additional ceremonies

The following schools had not returned our calls or emails by press time, but still appear to be having some sort of commencement ceremonies.

Buckley seniors graduated May 29.

Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles has Mon., June 8 as the school’s commencement date.

Los Angeles High School will hold a commencement ceremony Thurs., June 11.

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