A socially distanced graduation ceremony allowed for the seniors to gather together one last time.
On June 7, Farber Hebrew Day School celebrated their eight graduating seniors by throwing them their very own parking lot graduation. Although it was not how seniors envisioned their graduation, it was the perfect way to end this memorable senior year.
“No one was excited about a Zoom graduation. The thought of having a remote graduation was the last thing that anyone wanted to have,” Rabbi Scot Berman, head of school, told the JN. “Some kids were even saying that if that was how it was going to happen, they would rather not have a graduation at all.”
Originally, Farber’s graduation ceremony was scheduled for May 31. But the faculty and staff postponed the ceremony to try and see if an in-person graduation ceremony would be possible if they waited it out just a little longer.
“Time was in our favor. The later we had the graduation, the better the chance that there would be less restrictions imposed upon us that would interfere with us having it in-person,” Rabbi Berman said. “We decided to push graduation off by a week and in fact, some of the restrictions, in terms of being able to get together with people outdoors, [were] announced and that was the game changer.”
Now able to have people gather outdoors, Farber moved ahead with setting up the outdoor ceremony. All eight graduates were socially distanced on the stage and families of the graduates gathered in the parking lot while practicing social distancing.
Farber also had most of their speeches pre-recorded so there would be fewer faculty and staff there, and also made sure they had plenty of microphones so when the seniors gave their speeches, they would not be using the same microphone as another student.
Yaffa Magier and Micah Eizen were two of the seniors who graduated from Farber. They both expressed their gratitude to the faculty and staff for being able to make this last event at Farber a special one.
“It was not what I was expecting at all, especially with everything going on,” Magier told the JN. “In the end, being able to be on stage and seeing family in their cars, it was exciting and felt like we earned this. Compared to other graduations, I appreciate our ceremony so much.”
Since their graduating class was so small, all of the seniors were able to attend and come together for one last time.
“This process has been very hard. These last couple months are supposed to be the best four months of our educational careers,” Magier said. “However, our school really pushed through and tried to make our graduation as special as they possibly could, and they did just that.”
Prior to the graduation, Rabbi Berman, Rabbi Noam Stein, the high school principal, and other administrators and staff members dropped off lawn signs and personalized cookies to the homes of each graduate as a surprise to all eight seniors. They had graduation music playing and took socially distanced graduation photos with the seniors.
“This whole thing has been surreal. We walked out of school on March 13, and who knew that it was going to be our last day in the school,” Eizen said. “The graduation ceremony and the lawn sign drop–off was really nice and meant a lot to all of us to see the continued support from our teachers and staff that we have had throughout our years at Farber.”