The Hart High School Class of 2020 graduated Tuesday through the use of two special ceremonies: one drive-thru graduation in the morning and a follow-up virtual ceremony in the evening.
The morning ceremony, which began at 8 a.m. at Central Park, featured more than 450 of the 528 graduating Hart seniors. Each one in their own car, also filled with family members supporting them, pulled around to the stage that had their class number and school insignia on it.
The students were each allowed to take photos in front of the banner, walk on stage, receive their diploma sleeve (their actual diploma is given to them at a later time) and given the opportunity to take another photo.
Standing by were socially distanced faculty and staff cheering on the students as they walked across the stage as a Hart High Indian one last time.
At 7 p.m. the graduates were invited to watch the virtual graduation for the school, which was a video created by a coalition of students or staff from each school site that was unique to that school.
The virtual ceremony kicked off with a crawl of pictures of each of the graduating seniors in their caps and gowns and was scored by “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Hart High Principal Jason d’Autremont then came on screen, and introduced and thanked his staff for the work they did in ensuring that the Class of 2020 was able to graduate. He then addressed the graduates.
D’Autremont discussed the events that had affected the Hart Class of 2020, from the fires that canceled events and school to the Saugus High Shooting to the cancellation of in-person classes due to COVID-19.
“And while you might not have had a senior prom or grad night, what you do have is class, what you do have is kindness, what you do have is hope,” said d’Autremont. “Through all these cancellations, none of these things that you have endured throughout this year will ever be canceled.”
“Class of 2020 Hart Indians, hope is not canceled, your future is not canceled,” d’Autremont added.
The first class speaker for Hart, Stefanie Woll, discussed the memories she and her classmates had made during their four years at Hart, saying that she was grateful for spending this last part of their journey together.
“Saying goodbye is never easy, but it’s because there’s always so much to say goodbye to,” said Woll. “I’m so thankful that it will be so hard to say goodbye to all of you.”
“To my fellow classmates, no words can truly express the excitement and proudness I feel for your future,” said Crystal Salinas, the second speaker for the class. “I know how easy it is to live your lives in the confines of fear, but I also know that you’re here, and that paths you can take are infinite.”
Four members of the graduating class then read the names of their classmates, declaring them graduates of Hart High School.