Although holding out hope for an in-person Eighth Grade Class promotion ceremony, Macopin Middle School teachers, staff and school administrators nonetheless also prepared for alternatives for the quarantined Macopin Class of 2020.
The students had already missed out on many special events and trips during their final months at the school, such as Music Concerts and Festivals - including Dorney Park, the seventh and eighth grade Semi-Formal Dance, monthly Activity Nights for the Spring, and especially the 8th Grade Trip to Washington, D.C., which has been a special annual school trip for eighth graders at Macopin for more than 30 years.
The ongoing pandemic restrictions changed all that.
“We were hoping to be able to do something in person,” Macopin Principal Marc Citro said in a message to parents on June 8, “but with outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people that is unfortunately not possible.”
But the Macopin staff, long known for creativity and ingenuity, brainstormed some fantastic alternatives to help their eighth grade students and families celebrate their promotion to high school in unique and special ways.
Diplomas and a ‘Wave Parade Drive-bye’
On Tuesday, June 16, Macopin teachers and staff members volunteered to surprise the eighth graders at their homes (with advance notice and permission from parents). A staff member personally stopped by to chat and deliver their diploma to each of them.
On Wednesday, June 17, the eighth grade students and their families were invited to attend a “Wave Parade/ Drive-Bye” down Highlander Drive past the front of Macopin School between 6 and 7 p.m, so they could wave goodbye to their Macopin staff and school.
Citro wrote in his message to the the families: “Feel free to drive through as many times as you would like.”
And they did.
Macopin teachers, staff, and school and district administrators were lined up spread out along the entire length of the grassy area in front of Macopin Middle School - from the first parking lot driveway entrance all the way to the far driveway exit near the gym.
They held up signs of congratulations as they cheered, applauded and waved to each student, as the long parade of eighth grade family cars proceeded past them - with horns beeping, and students and family members waving and cheering back to them.
Citro smiled with pride as he commented at the end of the event about the large turnout of both staff members and students with their families for the “Wave Parade/Drive-Bye.”
“I sent out a memo inviting the staff to come if they could and wanted to,” Citro said, “but that it wasn’t mandatory to come; and nearly every staff member is here to wave goodbye to our kids.
“I think most of the eighth grade class showed up, too,” he added. “This was great!”
Virtual pomp and circumstance
On Friday, June 19, Macopin School released the Eighth Grade Virtual Promotion Ceremony for viewing, via a link in email to families, on the school’s webpage (https://wmtps.org/schools/macopin_middle_school), and on the West Milford High School’s TV Science page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAAG9DouYdVBP-mQfpxh4Fw).
Optimum Public TV Channel 77 also broadcast the ceremony at.
The ceremony began with images of Macopin School, the school sign and the sculpted hedges in the front of the school that reads “Macopin.”
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, class officers from Macopin Student Council and School Administrators gave speeches that were impressive, relevant, meaningful and succinct.
The Macopin School Class of 2020 students’ names were announced, and each student’s name and eighth grade school photo was displayed individually.
On Monday, June 22, Macopin Principal Marc Citro and Vice Principal Oliver Pruksarnukul (Mr. P) were available at Macopin School from 9 a.m. to noon for families to come and take pictures of their eighth grade graduates - in their gowns with their diplomas - with them or family members at the blue sign in front of the school. Families were asked to park across the street in the high school senior lot, and reminded to practice social distancing.
“Thanks to all of you for your support and understanding during this difficult time,” Citro said. “You should be proud of your children for persevering, we sure are. I hope you all stay well and have a great summer.”