Advent's First Socially Distant Graduation

Christie Janey
When the 2019-2020 academic year began, our eighth-graders could not have possibly predicted what their final year at Advent would look like. The school year began much like any other, yet by March, the Covid-19 Pandemic meant our students were participating in our distance-learning program rather than in-person instruction and by May it was clear that Advent’s graduation ceremony could not take place in its traditional form.
This did not stop Advent from celebrating a remarkable class of graduates and welcoming 21 new members in to the ranks of Advent alumni, even if it meant hosting the most unconventional graduation ceremony in our school’s history. This July, rather than the traditional ceremony in the Cathedral, the Class of 2020 clad in masks and spaced six-feet apart processed down 6th Avenue South towards the Porte-cochere area outside the building, where their immediate family members watched from designated spaces in the surrounding parking-lot. A bag-piper led the processional, adding a touch of pomp-and-circumstance to the otherwise understated occasion. Headmaster Palmer Kennedy and Cannon Craig Smalley delivered remarks before the graduates received their diplomas and signed the graduation book.
While this was not the ceremony we had envisioned, it was a joyous occasion. The Class of 2020 demonstrated incredible resilience and adaptability, both of which will serve them well as they move on to the next chapter of their lives. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for these special members of the Advent family.
Founded in 1950 and located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, Advent Episcopal School is a coeducational, college-preparatory day school for students grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th.