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A Graduation Like No Other

Graduation can yield a variety of emotions for all those involved! It is a time to be thrilled to receive a well-deserved diploma, excited and nervous for future endeavors and nostalgic about the experiences one is leaving behind. With our current situation and the need for social distancing, the spectacle of crossing the stage and the festivities that follow are being rethought. It is human nature to adapt to difficult situations and now is a time — more than ever — to get imaginative with how we celebrate achievements in education.


In New Orleans, a city revered for celebrating anything and everything to the maximum extent, students and staff of local schools are getting extra creative with their commemorations. Here are some of the creative ways NOLA grads have and will be celebrating.



Graduate by Norman Rockwell, 1959


Graduate by Norman Rockwell, 1959


-Lusher High School is honoring their graduates by decorating their Freret Street lawn with signs featuring the senior photos of each of the graduates. A virtual commencement ceremony will happen on May 23, and shortly after, a parade-like procession will take place in front of nearly 250 houses from Lusher’s Willow campus to its Freret campus. Students will be provided with a cap and gown, window markers, decorations and poster boards to customize their cars. Once the procession is complete, the students are to walk across a stage at Lusher and will be handed their diplomas individually by administration and staff.
-Ursuline Academy has featured a different graduate on social media each day with a write-up celebrating them and their accomplishments. Current staff and former students who graduated from the “Katrina Class” shared videos of encouragement and support for the class of 2020. Staff members also delivered a single red rose with a special message to each graduating senior’s home — a yearly Ursuline tradition.
-Jesuit High School celebrated their annual Senior Day with a drive-thru jambalaya lunch. Reverend Kevin Dyer, the Jesuit chaplain, recorded a video of him reciting a special prayer for the class of 2020 and shared it on Facebook. A graduation ceremony has been rescheduled for late July to respect social distancing rules. 
-Tulane University will host a virtual conferral of degrees on Saturday, May 16th for the class of 2020. President Mike Fitts and other special guests will lead the live-stream. Dr. Michael White will open the virtual ceremony with a slideshow and virtual musical performance. A future, in-person commencement and graduation are being rescheduled to later times in the year. Tulane University normally hosts its commencement ceremony in the Super Dome, but this year nearly everything looks different!


Graduate On Top of the World by Edmund Davenport, 1925


Graduate On Top of the World by Edmund Davenport, 1925


Other students throughout the United States are adapting to this challenging time, too. Learn more about their inventive celebratory measures below! 


-Vanderbilt University has decided to postpone their class of 2020 graduation until spring of 2021 in order to have an in-person celebration for all! There are currently articles highlighting some of their exceptional student’s accomplishments on the Vanderbilt website. A hashtag “#VU2020” has been adopted by Vanderbilt as well. The university is encouraging the class of 2020 to tag their social media posts with this hashtag to share how each individual is celebrating their achievements. Other universities and colleges have chosen similar hashtags to unite their virtual celebrations together.


-Some students have re-created their campuses on open server video game platforms. Students at University of Pennsylvania have created “Penncraft,” a virtual replica of Penn’s campus on the popular game Minecraft. Graduates can process through their online campus since they are not currently able to in real life. Other graduates have met on the new Animal Crossing game to host their own customizable graduation ceremony.


- Another hashtag has taken storm all over the internet. #Dearclassof2020 has been used on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook for anyone and everyone to share wisdom with the world’s newest graduates. Hope can be quite hard to find at an uneasy time like this, but seeing folks all over the world come together to spread wisdom is truly inspiring!


Though we are living in a difficult time, it is heartwarming to see the how graduates and their families continue to celebrate academic achievements. We hope all graduates are proud of their accomplishments and feel on top of the world — though the world may feel so different now. It is yours to seize, grads! Your creativity inspires us for the future. From all of us here at M.S. Rau, congratulations class of 2020!




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