Senior year for Wilton High School’s Class of 2020 culminated in a global pandemic and three months in quarantine–effectively making all of the traditional, penultimate events impossible to celebrate. So it was fitting that these WHS seniors enjoyed a gorgeous day for one of the most memorable and unique graduation ceremonies Wilton has ever seen.
Under clear blue skies at noon on Saturday, June 13, the 300-some graduates assembled in three different parking lots to begin the choreographed plan. Each in a car with his or her own family, they were directed one by one to form a caravan that snaked its way southbound from Allen’s Meadow along Rte. 7/Danbury Rd., up Ridgefield Rd., turning on Middlebrook Farm Rd. and proceeding down School Rd.–passing their middle school (Middlebrook) and upper elementary school (Cider Mill) before turning onto Kristine Lilly Way to approach WHS.
Each car was decorated, some with balloons and streamers, others with blown-up pictures of graduates’ faces, and messages, and still more with all of the above–all joyful expressions of accomplishment, celebration, and triumph.
Along the route, residents and other well-wishers turned out to cheer on the graduates. They rang cowbells and applauded, whooped and called out to the passing seniors–many of whom took their triumphant lap around Wilton standing tall through car sun-roofs and convertibles as they waved at the crowds.
As the cars reached the high school, the seniors were able to enjoy a last-minute plan change in the way the diplomas were handed out. Instead of being handed their diplomas through a socially distanced car window, they were able to step out of their cars and walk across one of two stages as their names were announced, stand between school officials for a classic picture, to claim their reward for years of academic accomplishment in Wilton schools.
While it may not have been the graduation they imagined, for many–spectators, parents, and graduates alike–it was a graduation that defied imagination and blew away expectations. The ebullient way graduates were able to literally free-wheel their way through a procession after months of being cooped up was healing. The support they felt from a town that turned out to embrace them was breathtaking, reminding them of just what makes Wilton so special. And the effort that clearly had been put into making the day unique–by countless volunteers, town officials and employees, school administrators, faculty and staff members, parents, and classmates–was humbling, and unforgettable.
Below, we’re sharing our record of the day:
- Photographs by Drew Gumins/ATG Visuals for GOOD Morning Wilton–our album here has about 175 images, but GOOD Morning Wilton and ATG are making the entire set of 1,500+ images that were captured open and available for download as a gift to graduates and their families.
- Video from a birds-eye and participant’s view
- The Virtual Ceremony–speeches from the student body president, co-valedictorians, school principals, and superintendent, plus the presentation of the class gift–and of course the presentation of the members of the Class of 2020. (Produced by Wilton Educational TV)
- Live coverage of the procession and graduation ceremony. (Produced by Wilton Educational TV)
GOOD Morning Wilton Photographs
A Bird’s-eye/Inside View of Graduation
Live coverage of the procession and graduation ceremony
Editor’s note: Wilton Educational TV will have an edited version of the live procession/ceremony available on YouTube on July 4.