By Lauren Azrin and Melanie Schwartz
Although seniors this year missed out on a normal graduation ceremony, we are grateful that they were still able to be honored in a two-day event that featured a virtual graduation and a car parade.
First, on Wednesday the 24th, students got the in-person experience where, dressed in their caps and gowns, graduates drove to the high school for a car parade sendoff, accompanied by family members. Students drove under an archway of balloons where faculty congratulated them with posters and displays. The names of seniors were announced as they entered, and a professional photographer took a quick picture of each graduate. One senior, Talia Krausz, said, “White Plains High School’s pandemic version of a graduation was more enjoyable, memorable, and wholesome than I ever anticipated. The effort made by the White Plains community to ensure that our graduation was nothing less than special surpassed many expectations. From balloon bridges to decked-out cars, to blasting music, to dancing with friends through car windows, the event was spectacular.”
Then, on Thursday the 25th, graduates, families, and friends were able to watch a virtual graduation that aired on YouTube and local TV. The pre-recorded video featured speeches, images and video footage of seniors, as well as musical performances by the Musical Department Ensembles and the Songwriter’s Club. To top it off, each graduate’s name was featured with their yearbook photo.
Also, throughout the commencement week, the names of graduating seniors were displayed on digital billboards at prominent locations throughout the City of White Plains, such as the City Center, Galleria, library, and train stations.
Seniors were also grateful for the senior Thursdays, where, for four weeks in a row, they drove through the high school and were celebrated by faculty and given special treats. One senior, Lauren Elmer, stated, “It was so nice to see all the work put in by parents and faculty to celebrate our graduating class.” There was even an event on the day that was supposed to be prom, which, though not the same, was a great way for seniors to celebrate anyway. Elmer continued, “I wish this year had turned out a little differently, but WPHS is still such a wonderful place to call home.”