By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 28, 2020) The Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin held an unconventional graduation ceremony on campus last Thursday by having its Class of 2020 have a drive through parade.
Forty-seven students graduated from the school, and were able to celebrate by driving their cars while a small crowd of their teachers and other faculty cheered them on as they received gift bags from the school’s mascot.
The students drove up to the gym, received a gift bag, and continued out of the parking lot with their families in the car with them. The gift bag contained a class T-Shirt, poster of the class, letters from staff, and other gifts. The teachers and some members of the Berlin Police and Fire Worcester Prep holds drive-thru graduationalso gathered in the parking lot to cheer them on as they left.
According to Marketing and Public Relations Associate Diane Brown, every student was accepted into a four-year school, involving 37 different universities in 15 states. One international student will be going to university in the United Kingdom.
Twelve of these students have also been invited to an honors program at one or more colleges. The students also did well financially, as $6.8 million was awarded in grants or scholarships and around 92 percent of the class received offers of merit or need-based scholarships and financial aid.
Acting Head of School Mike Grosso said the decision to hold the parade was created by a graduation committee to help give the students the recognition they deserved after the coronavirus caused the cancellation of the school’s traditional ceremony.
“Worcester Preparatory School’s traditional graduation ceremony is one of the most special events of the year, but due to the current circumstances, we needed to adapt,” he said. “In times of necessity, new traditions are born. It was so nice to see the smiles — and some tears — as our senior class drove through our lot being cheered on by faculty and staff. This indeed was a special moment and a memory to last a lifetime.
“The parents and students were very happy that we organized this and they had a great time,” Grosso continued. “It was also nice that the teachers were there to support the kids.”
Class of 2020 President Sam Tinkler, of Berlin, who will be studying business with a minor in history at Belmont University in Tennessee this fall, thought the drive-thru celebration was a fantastic idea.
“I know everybody’s been pretty bummed out about everything that’s happened and not being able to have a traditional graduation, but it was really fun and really nice to be able to see all the teachers and see all of my classmates,” Tinkler said.
Tinkler also believes the virus brought his class closer together despite being physically separated from one another for three months.
“In some ways, it brought our class even closer together, because it made us build stronger connections outside of school,” he said. “I think it’s actually been really special in that aspect because I think that some people have been able to build up some long-distance communication and some things that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
“I’m very proud to be representing them all,” Tinkler continued. “It’s been a weird thing, but everybody has been very positive about it and it makes me very proud to represent them.”
Also feeling proud to represent Worcester Prep was Vice President Quinn McColgan, who traveled from Millsboro, Delaware to attend school.
“It was just so much more exciting than just a regular traditional ceremony,” she said. “The teachers and the faculty, they really went all out. They decorated the parking lot in all this Worcester gear and they had posters and balloons … it was just nice to see that they had all shown up and put on something just to celebrate us.
“It was very fitting that we had some sort of celebration in place just to give us a little bit of a gift before restrictions slowly come down and life gets a little bit back to normal.” McColgan continued. “I’m sure they have an idea of a day where we could do some sort of ceremony. But since that’s kind of far off in the future and there is no guarantee, I think this is the one way they felt like they could just celebrate us.”
McColgan will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, this fall with a focus on writing and literature.