This article appeared in the May 19, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Why Dylan Thomas would be proud of 2020 grads

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
A graduating senior from Buckeye Union High School and a family member attend the graduation ceremony on the race track at Phoenix Raceway on May 16, 2020, in Avondale, Arizona.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

Have you noticed? There’s an emerging “do not go gentle into that good night” quality to 2020 commencement events. When the coronavirus closed schools, seniors saw a rite of passage, graduation day, snatched away. 

Yes, adequate, even spectacular, facsimiles are happening online. For example, the digital capstone event hosted this past weekend by LeBron James and former President Barack Obama. Yet there’s a rumbling of rebelliousness, a rejection of the vanilla Zoom graduation.

You see it in the Texas high school principal who drove 800 miles to personally deliver every single diploma to 612 graduating seniors.

You see it at the Phoenix Raceway, where graduates from four Arizona high schools drove the track Saturday, taking one last lap as seniors before crossing the finish line. 

You see it in Pennsylvania, where on June 5 the Hanover Area High School is going Hollywood. Their seniors will become big-screen stars at the Garden Drive-in Theater. Valedictorian speeches, individual honors, and slide shows will be projected on the theater’s screen. “This will be the most memorable graduation in school district history,” superintendent Nathan Barrett told CNN.

Undoubtedly. But principal Kevin Carpenter has an epic plan too. North Conway, New Hampshire, seniors will be social distancing June 13 with a chair-lift processional on their way to graduation on the summit of Cranmore Mountain. Where else would the Kennett High Eagles perch? 

Dylan Thomas would approve: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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This article appeared in the May 19, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/19 edition
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