BREAKING: Archer announces virtual graduation for seniors

The+Class+of+2018+graduates+Archer.+This+year%2C+the+ceremony+will+be+held+online+due+to+the+spread+of+coronavirus.+

Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

The Class of 2018 graduates Archer. This year, the ceremony will be held online due to the spread of coronavirus.

By Vaughan Anoa'i, Staff Reporter

The Class of 2020’s graduation ceremony will be held on Zoom on the evening of Friday, May 29, at 6:30 p.m., administration announced Tuesday afternoon.

Due to the amount of COVID-19 cases in California, Head of School Elizabeth English stressed the importance of following public health guidelines by holding the ceremony virtually this year. Specifically, she cited the Los Angeles County Department of Education’s order about graduation ceremonies as the reason for the decision to move the ceremony online.

“The order does not allow any exemptions for graduation gatherings of any type in order to limit the spread of COVID-19,” English wrote in a Wednesday email to the class. “This means all in-person graduation ceremonies, including use of cars for drive-by events (even if one student at a time), are considered public gatherings and therefore prohibited.”

In response to English’s email to her grade, senior planning committee member Sophie Larbalestier said she felt “grateful” for the way that the Archer faculty and especially Ms. English handled breaking the news to the graduates.

“Ms. English is great at communicating to students, to parents, to everyone, and I really appreciated hearing from her,” Larbalestier said. “The announcement felt more sincere and important coming from her, and I felt the school has made this whole situation their priority, which they’ve shown us.”

Although “disappointed,” English hopes to still celebrate the graduates with multiple guest speakers, including Archer community members and Julie Foudy, a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion and Olympic gold medalist, along with a later surprise guest performance.

In addition to the guest speakers, there will also be individual spotlights of each graduate, which English called an “important” part of the ceremony.

On Friday, May 22, seniors will be allowed to pick up their graduation package on campus, which consists of their flower wreaths, diplomas and more surprises.

In an email interview conducted Tuesday night, senior class dean Jenn Dohr expressed the pride she feels in the class of 2020, which she wrote “knows no bounds.”

“Despite disappointment, they received the news of a virtual graduation with graciousness, gratefulness, and a depth of understanding and pathos that belies their age. I’m also so proud of the Senior Celebrations Committee for searching high and low to create an event worthy of the inimitable Girls on Fire,” Dohr wrote. “Parents, please know how much we look forward to celebrating with you and your incredible daughters whenever we are able to safely reunite again. In the meantime, May 29th will be an evening to remember — there’s just no doubt about that.”

Echoing Dohr’s statements, Larbalestier said she felt “devastated” that her class would not graduate live but has been doing everything in her power to accept the given circumstances and maintain a positive attitude moving forward.

“It’s definitely sad, but I feel hopeful and excited for the event still,” she said. “I know the admin will do an amazing job, and it’s going to be super successful.”