Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Takoma Academy Drive-in Ceremony

Takoma Academy Seniors Recognized at Home and Drive-in Ceremony

Story by Salena Fitzgerald

Last school year wasn’t ideal. The COVID-19 outbreak had parents, students, teachers and staff on edge. The combination of “senioritis” and distance learning enhanced the load of pressure on the Class of 2020. Math teacher D’Anya Brezzell attacked this concern straight on: “With so much pressure on our seniors, I wanted to encourage them by handwriting each of them a personalized note and mailing it to their home.”

Carla Thrower, TA principal, and other staff members brainstormed what special thing they could do to make up for not having a Junior/Senior Banquet, class trip to the Bahamas, mission trip to Thailand or threeday graduation weekend.

In lieu of typical end-of-the-year events, the administration assigned a day for each senior to be honored. Each day Thrower drove to a students’ home to present graduation regalia, including cords and medals. A parade of cars filled with faculty, staff, students and family members followed Thrower to celebrate the student.

Senior Mari Dortch says, “It made us very happy and grateful. We [were] a little emotional, but mostly excited to be able to do this with each other, though it [was] not under ideal circumstances.”

The culminating event for the Class of 2020 was a drive-in graduation in July where students were honored on Takoma Academy’s field with 20” x 30” senior photos, fanfare and regalia.

The school administration ensured that social distancing and appropriate protocols were maintained. Students listened to speeches from Sherina Moses, class president; Kristi Barnes, valedictorian; and commencement speaker Diane Wallace Booker, the executive director of U.S. Dream Academy. Various colleges and universities presented National Honor Students with recognition and scholarships.

Thrower says that even with school year challenges, “TA continues to work to support students in all their endeavors. God loves them, and so do we!”

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