The Wellington School class of 2020 will be recognized during a ceremony Friday, June 5, that will bring students together while maintaining social distancing.

COVID-19 coronavirus precautions and state orders prohibiting large gatherings will force the Wellington School to hold a nontraditional commencement ceremony.

Starting at 10 a.m., the school will begin a drive-in commencement on its campus, 3650 Reed Road.

"As of (May 21), many of the logistical details are still being worked out," said Danielle Turkovich, Wellington's marketing and communications direction. "We will follow guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health and state leadership as we plan commencement exercises that will honor the incredible achievements of our graduating class of 2020 while staying as safe as possible. The health and safety of our community is our top priority in planning this event."

The class of 2020 includes 66 students.

Live speakers will include head of school Dr. Jeff Terwin, class speaker Zeke Lloyd of Hilliard and head of upper school Rishi Raghunathan.

Live musical performances by Ian Gleissner and Grant Wheeler, both of Hilliard, also are planned.

"The two musicians will play at the same time but will be placed apart to ensure social-distancing guidelines," Turkovich said. "We have no plans at this time for parents or other guests, than the speakers previously mentioned, to take part."

The program also will include recorded messages from Wellington board chairman Ted Manley, as well as senior presentations of the class gift and yearbook dedication.

In recognizing the class of 2020, Terwin lauded students for their response to the changes forced on them by the pandemic.

"I have been so impressed with how our students have shown resilience and creativity in the face of this crisis," he said. "Despite having been stripped of many of the typical milestone events, these seniors have stepped into leadership with an optimistic energy that has been a model for all of our students.

"At Wellington, we help students embrace new challenges as opportunities. Our seniors, while working through a full learning-from-home program, managed to maintain ways to stay connected with their classmates by continuing to host our daily morning meetings via a virtual interface – including a dramatic reading of each days 'lunch menu.' "

Terwin said a highlight of the year came when seniors worked out alternatives to celebrate the tradition of Spirit Week at the school.

"These activities, along with participating fully with our club and advisory system, helped to bring some normalcy and positive connections to a very challenging situation for our students," he said.

Looking ahead, Terwin said, the challenges the seniors faced this spring, as well as their skills and the knowledge they've gained through their education and life experiences, will prepare them for the future.

"This senior class was especially impacted by the global pandemic, as they have been a group with international connections and relationships," Terwin said. "Most of the class of 2020 has participated in international-exchange or immersion programs, living with host families and attending schools in Toulouse, France, Barcelona, Spain, and Sorrento, Italy, during their time in the upper school.

"They are eager to dust off those passports once the world opens back up for exploration and adventure."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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