“I am psyched!”
In typical Wade Bianco style, this was the Notre Dame High School principal’s reaction when asked about the activities that the school has hosted, and has planned, to celebrate their 2020 graduates.
It’s not a secret that the needs of high school seniors are far different this year than they have ever been historically.
And like so many other schools, leaders at Notre Dame are doing their best to ensure their 2020 grads get a memorable send-off.
These kids have had a moment in time stolen from them that they will never get back. To minimize the impact of this, parents have taken up the cause, along with school officials.
Director of Academic Advisement, Kristen Gomez, was contacted by a Batavia High School parent asking Notre Dame to include their grads on a Facebook Page to have all the seniors adopted … to be shown some congratulations, love and attention.
As is the case at other schools, this project took off and was a huge success with 33 Notre Dame seniors benefitting. The two schools coordinated on this endeavor and it was “awesome stuff,” Gomez said. It was a real highlight for the entire Batavia community.
Along with this is special recognition, each graduating Senior has been showcased on the Notre Dame Facebook Page. This could potentially open some doors in their quest for success.
The front yard of every grad has been adorned with a sign proclaiming “This Home is Proud! Notre Dame Class of 2020 Senior” —another expression of the pride they all feel as they celebrate their accomplishment.
The school’s Board of Directors certainly wasn’t going to be left out. They had the pleasure of surprising each teen with the delivery of a dozen shamrock cookies.
While these projects have all given the soon-to-be-grads a few rays of sunshine during an otherwise dreary time, Gomez said that it is of great importance to the officials at Notre Dame that they maintain longstanding traditions.
Plans for the upcoming Commencement have just been finalized.
The audience -- parents and families in their vehicles will assemble in the parking lot of Van Detta Stadium on Saturday afternoon, June 6, starting at 4:15.
At 4:45 they will begin traveling to the football field at Notre Dame and be guided onto the field. Commencement begins at 5 o'clock at Notre Dame.
They will not likely be able to celebrate Mass at the 2020 graduation ceremony, but the requisite playing of the "Notre Dame Fight Song" on bagpipes will be performed by Janice Blue.
This will be followed by a prayer and their signature Rose Presentation Ceremony of parental recognition, which always includes a memorable rendition of “Ave Maria.”
Then there will be addresses and awards, after which a queue of graduates will cross the assembled stage one at a time to receive their diplomas.
To meet social distancing protocols required because of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone will be wearing face masks and keeping six feet apart.
Gomez said there are several other surprises planned for these seniors who have lost so much.
Even as the pomp and circumstance are important, Notre Dame officials have made it their number one priority to ensure that all students are getting the academic services they need.