It was the first act of a graduation like no other in a year like no other, as the 385 members of Edmonds-Woodway High School’s Class of 2020 arrived to pick up their caps and gowns in a festive motorcade through the school parking lot — amid banners, balloons, upbeat music and cheering throngs of faculty, parents and staff.
The event was organized as alternative to the normal in-school pickup of caps and gowns, which wasn’t possible since the COVID-19 outbreak prompted the cancellation of in-school learning for the remainder of the school year.
Cars decorated in school colors and packed with soon-to-be graduates were greeted by a profusion of purple-and green-themed signs featuring the senior year photo of each individual member of the Class of 2020 lining the route to the pickup station. Brainchild of Marla Thal, Executive President at Edmonds-Woodway, the signs were produced by Edmonds’ own Branding Iron print and graphics design firm.
“Branding Iron was great to work with on this,” said Lynne Behrendt, who helped organize and run the event. “These signs add a really festive and special touch to this year’s commencement.”
In addition to the signs, more than 50 faculty, friends, parents and staff turned out to cheer, wave pom-poms, dance, sing and otherwise give it all up in a high-energy celebration of accomplishment, hope and visions of a bright future for the class of 2020.
As each car approached the distribution table, Behrendt announced the graduate’s name on her bullhorn, and staff from gown supplier Josten’s pulled the corresponding package, ran to the car, and presented it to the student.
As the cars left the parking area, Assistant Principal Jesse Goodsky, robed in regal purple school colors, provided his personal congratulations to each graduate.
But there’s more to come.
The next step for the Class of 2020 is a virtual graduation ceremony. On June 2, students will don their gowns and mortarboards, and visit the school in small, socially-distanced groups, then will be filmed walking across the stage to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance. Then, through the magic of video editing, the clips will be complied into a visual record that will be released on the originally scheduled graduation date — Friday, June 12.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel