End of Year Celebrations

the first of many meetings

A team of seniors, parents and educators led by Dr. Steven Siciliano, principal of John Jay High School, is meeting weekly to determine the best course of action for the senior prom and graduation during a time of social distance.

Their first online meeting on April 24 included senior representatives to Campus Congress Sebastian Degenhardt, Valedictorian Jessica Leff, and Charlie Oestricher; PTO members Catharine Oestricher, president, and Kimberly Touzeau; Senior Class Advisors Patricia Dente and Steven Zoeller, Counselor Carlyn Bochicchio, and Assistant Principal Kim Piccolino among others. 

A team of students, parents and educators

creating a one of a kind, remarkable commencement for the Class of 2020

“Maximum flexibility is called for,” began Dr. Siciliano. “Not all of this is under our control.” Pivotal to the team’s work is the next mandate from Governor Andrew Cuomo. New York’s stay-at-home order currently runs through May 15, which keeps nonessential businesses and schools closed at least until then.

Plan B would need to be in put in place sooner than Governor Cuomo’s next announcement, due to venue requirements and logistics for alternatives. The Class of 2020 currently has prom reservations at the Surf Club in New Rochelle on June 19 and their graduation is scheduled for Caramoor on June 23.

Everyone on the team saw graduation as the piece to prioritize.

“Your class has the opportunity to do something new,” Zoeller challenged the seniors, applying the design thinking process he teaches at the high school to the challenges at hand.  “What are the fundamental elements you want at your graduation?” 

Jessica, Sebastian and Charlie  identified the importance of their class being all together—even while keeping social distance, being with their families, seeing everyone get their diplomas and hearing the commencement speakers.   

The parents on the team spoke to the importance of ceremonial pieces that help young people and parents memorialize the last four years and the transition to a new phase—moments like the turning of the tassel and seeing next year’s plans displayed on graduation caps.

Team members left the meeting with tasks to research for an event that could combine in-person elements with online components. Over the next weeks, the team will continue on the path towards creating a one of a kind, remarkable commencement for the Class of 2020.