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Archives Immaculate Heart grads surprised with video

July 15, 2020

By Jessica Hargrave
Contributing Writer

WATERTOWN – Graduation is considered a rite of passage for teenagers closing the door on their high school careers. On June 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced high schools can hold in-person graduations in outdoor settings with a limit of 150 people starting June 26. Seniors from Immaculate Heart Central School in Watertown were able to do just that, attending their graduation on the school’s athletic field.

With the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out traditional graduation ceremonies, do seniors feel shortchanged with their experience? Schools, including IHC, made sure their seniors were supported and loved in different ways. Amanda McIlroy, director of Advancement at IHC, said she wanted seniors to have a memento to cherish, surprising them with a secret video on Friday, June 26, the day of graduation. When it was announced the school was closing due to COVID-19 concerns back in March, McIlroy said she knew she wanted to do something special for the class of 2020. She started working on a senior slideshow, but after realizing it might be a project seniors would want to work on themselves, she handed the slideshow over to a small group of seniors to complete. McIlroy had something else up her sleeve,though, secretly piecing together videos and pictures being sent to her by school staff and family members.

“I’m tacking the video to the end of the slideshow, so when they think it’s over, it’s not actually over,” said McIlroy.

With no order to who would be featured next in the added video, the students were surprised every step of the way. McIlroy said everyone’s love and excitement to participate was heartwarming. She pointed to a memorable clip of science teacher, Mrs. Missert, putting a Mentos in a soda bottle which then erupted.

“You hear the family in the background yelling, ‘Wow! What a science experiment,’” McIlroy said. “Those videos that are just so fun because one, they made it their own, two, have fun with it, three, got the family involved, and that’s what it really comes down to is the involvement and the participation.”

The video was a chance to feature those who were unable to attend graduation due to social distancing and limited attendance policies required for outdoor graduation ceremonies.

“You can see how much they are loved and cared for and it’s nice to be able to showcase that for them,” said McIlroy.

The video was shared on the school’s YouTube and Facebook pages a few hours before the ceremony, something that the seniors will be able to access whenever they want without having to worry about losing a disc.

IHC’s graduation had a special attendee, Bishop Terry R. LaValley. Principal Dan Charlebois initially presumed a traditional Baccalaureate Mass would not be an option at this year’s graduation. Fortunately, with churches allowed to open at a limited capacity, the Mass was able to take place.

As the country begins to reopen in the wake of the pandemic comes excitement for the future and putting life lessons in motion.

“They have to embrace believing in the unexpected and being able to bend and weave and being okay with that,” said McIlroy. “They are the class of 2020. No one will ever forget them or what they are going through.”

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