Keeping Traditions Alive For the Class of 2020
There is no doubt that 2020 has opened the new decade with all the grace and decorum of a wrecking ball. The disruption caused by the coronavirus quarantine will have deep and long-lasting impacts to everyone but I want to reserve this tiny space for a bit of acknowledgment for all the Classes of 2020 graduating from high school, college and grad school this year and the experiences that will look so very different for them. So much work has gone into reaching this milestone only to have the last leg be drastically reduced to the four walls of your house and a computer screen. However, we will persevere!
At West Sound Academy, we have several traditions that the senior class engage in beyond the commencement ceremony including painting the giant rock, designing their senior sweatshirt, Senior Skip Day, Senior prank, the spring dance and my personal favorite, Senior Kidnap Day. Rather than simply canceling these events, we are doing our best to create a virtual version.
On April 1, the Class of 2020 participated in a virtual Senior Kidnap Day. Traditionally I would kidnap them out of class, dress them in matching funny pajama pants and take them on a fun field trip for the day. However, as I heard rumors that the Stay Home/Stay Healthy order was coming in Washington State, I quickly scrambled to put together packages for each senior that included the funny pants, a set of puzzle clues, some snacks (because the one rule is always to have food on hand) and a letter. The packages were put into the same mailing envelopes that the IB sends us to use to mail in the exams just for some irony. Each package was sealed with instructions not to open it until April 1 and then hand-delivered to each senior’s front door just before the order was given by Governor Jay Inslee.
After weeks of waiting and lots of speculation on what this was all about, the class all met in a Zoom virtual meeting room with me and opened their packages. They donned their funny pants (Sesame Street character pajama shorts this year) and got to work on several escape room type puzzles that indicated items they needed for a scavenger hunt list. Working together, and with a only a few hints, the class solved the clues and met at the end of the day to share their scavenged items. One clue instructed them to make a video of the class singing “Come Together” by the Beatles. Another led them to a Kahoot Quiz on WA State Geography which was a sentimental nod to when I taught them history in 6th Grade. The last had them take a class photo of them in their funny pants.
All in all, the class had fun and spent time together being goofy and light-hearted which is what we would have done during the in-person Senior Kidnap Day. What has always been the greatest trait of WSA’s Class of 2020 is that they are always game to engage in whatever activity we dream up for them. They show up and they step up. Next up: A virtual Spring Dance Party…?