“Prize Day” 2020


Courtesy of Amy Ma ’23

In light of the pandemic, Prize Day has been postponed to a future time on the circle when it is safe for the Form of 2020 and their families to return to campus. However, an Awarding of Prizes and Diplomas will happen virtually at the end of the school year. The ceremony will consist of the same procedures as the usual Prize Day, although students are unable to unite on the Circle and celebrate the special occasion together.

The school believes that it is imperative to honor and commemorate the Form of 2020 this year before they begin their journeys in college. Albeit online, a ceremony is necessary “because [the Form of 2020] deserve to graduate in 2020, get their transcripts and diplomas to go to college,” as Headmaster Temba Maqubela has expressed. Not only the graduating seniors, but the entire student body and faculty need to have closure for this school year. It is important for departing faculty and staff to be honored, for the underformers to receive their awards, and for leadership positions to be announced in addition to honoring the Form of 2020, Assistant Head of School Megan Harlan added.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for the virtual Awarding of Prizes and Diplomas to be the same as Prize Day on campus. It is with “overwhelming and understandable sadness from everyone,” as Mr. Maqubela has phrased it, that the pandemic is taking such a memorable experience away from the Form of 2020. 

Even though graduation will be different this year and there is not a way to “make up” for the lost experience, the graduating Form will be celebrated all the same. By having virtual celebrations and sending packages home to the Form of 2020, the school conveyed a sense of the appreciation that the community feels for them and their families. Ms. Harlan said, “we hope that even though we cannot be physically together, that they will see and feel that the school honors them, misses them, and wants to celebrate their resiliency and their achievements.” The virtual celebration together will show the strength of all Grotonians and everyone’s commitment to community school this year. In addition, Mr. Maqubela is already thinking about ways to make the on-campus celebration in the future more unforgettable and unique. 

The school’s decision to have an online ceremony this year is welcomed by most of the student body. Claire Lee ’20, as a member of the graduating Form, expresses her wish to graduate this year: “I would rather graduate virtually this year. I don’t think it’s very realistic that everyone would be able to come back in person next year and might even be a bit odd if we were to graduate with the form below.” Meanwhile, many are looking forward to the opportunity of celebrating Prize Day on campus next year. The Form of 2020 must be “heartened by the idea that they will return in person sometime next year,” Ms. Harlan said.

As a community, we have to rise through such disappointment and make the best out of the situation. Today, we will honor the Form of 2020, while they look forward to the future when they will have the opportunity to celebrate together on the Circle.