June 5, 2020, Newcastle, Maine. The spring of 2020 presented the same challenge to schools around the country and the world: how to celebrate graduation during a pandemic. Remarkable creativity went into solving this unique problem: schools used video, car parades, race tracks, fair grounds, and drive-in movie theaters. Lincoln Academy chose to combine a drive-up model with ten mini in-person diploma presentations, staggering the Class of 2020 by advisor group.

We have selected a few photos to tell the 2020 graduation story. There are thousands more images that can be downloaded for printing or sharing on the Lincoln Academy Flickr page. A video reel of graduation highlights is posted on the Lincoln Academy YouTube channel.

On the afternoon of June 5, Lincoln Academy advisor groups met at nearby St. Patrick’s church, where they put their cars in order and prepared to travel to campus as a caravan.

At St. Patricks, each family had the opportunity to have a graduation portrait taken. Luckily for all involved, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the blue sky and new green leaves added natural brightness to the decorations provided by parent volunteers. The entire set of graduation family portraits is available at this link.

Once each advisor group was organized and photographed, they headed out for the short drive over Academy Hill in their decorated cars.

When the graduate families reached campus, they were greeted by cheering fans at Borland Hall and the LA gym.

Graduate cars, led by their advisors, pulled down to park in a line at the head of the William A. Clark field. Volunteers helped them park close together and invited graduates to walk to the field entrance. Families could exit their cars but kept a safe distance from other families.

Graduates lined up outside the field gates, and waited for the graduation march to play before marching to the middle of the field. At each location, the field was parked with numbers to help graduates know where to stand.

As the graduation march played over the loudspeaker, graduates marched onto the field, and then were called by name to receive their diplomas, which were presented at a safe distance by senior advisors and Mr. Burroughs.

Residential students who were far away on graduation were represented by a local proxy, who carried both a life-sized image of the graduate and the graduate themself on the phone. These remote graduates were encouraged to wear their caps and gowns for the call. Some of them had to get up at strange hours early in the morning or late at night thanks to their time zone, but each one “participated” in graduation thanks to available technology

Thanks to the mini-graduation format, families had an excellent view of each graduate.

Group photos are challenging when everyone stands six feet apart, so each advisor group was arranged in a Chevron to photograph the group. In the Chevron students got to flip their tassels and toss their caps, ensuring that those traditional elements were not lost to the pandemic.

After receiving diplomas and returning to their cars, graduates departed campus and were celebrated by faculty, staff, and community members along Academy Hill.