A Graduation Like None Other

Posted by: Julie Okoniewski on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 12:00:00 am

As Oakwood prepared for our 224th graduation (and our 1st virtual commencement!) last Friday, some things stayed the same. Thanks to longtime faculty member Chris Galschjodt, early morning music played under the Copper Beech graduation tree even though the graduates could not be there in person.  For the last few decades, when we hear Bonnie Raitt '67 playing in the early hours of graduation day... we know it is time to celebrate our seniors!

Instead of gathering in person, we celebrated the Class of 2020 with a pre-recorded virtual graduation ceremony. Despite the distance, with graduates and families tuning in from Vietnam and NYC to across the river and right here on campus, it was a beautiful ceremony with heartfelt messages of connection and friendship from each senior. Each senior pre-recorded their speech, some at home in China with their parents by their side, others right here on campus under the Copper Beech tree, and some from their backyards.

Earlier last week we kicked off three days of celebrations for the seniors with a virtual slide show/video with messages from many faces from the past. Former faculty and students from far and wide sent messages of congratulations, love and encouragement for the class of 2020, reminding them that they are an integral part of the Oakwood community, and always will be. We also celebrated the seniors with a virtual Sports, Arts and Academics Award Ceremony. This ceremony, which is usually held on campus in person, recognizes the athletes, artists and scholars in the graduating class. Faculty members presented from their homes and the Meeting Room, two in a creative sports caster themed set up, and honored the seniors for their many successes and achievements.      

Farewell class of 2020! We applaud you for your incredible resilience during this unprecedented spring term and can’t wait to see each of you on campus in person as soon as we can! As you step towards new experiences remember, “have patience with all that is unresolved in your heart and learn to love the questions themselves.” - Rainer Maria Rilke.