The graduation ceremony for Whitman’s class of 2022 will take place at the school’s Jerome M. Marco Stadium on June 6. This will mark the second consecutive year that graduation will take place on Whitman’s campus rather than at DAR Constitution Hall, where the event has been in previous years.
In June of 2021, Whitman’s class of 2021 became the first cohort of students to graduate on the school’s football field, since organizers hoped that gathering at an outdoor location in place of an indoor venue would help prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the beginning of this school year, senior celebrations coordinator Danielle Fus, an English teacher, sent seniors and their guardians a poll on whether graduation for the class of 2022 should take place at Whitman’s football stadium or DAR Constitution Hall.
“The Whitman field was, by a very small margin, the preference for both parents and students,” Fus said.
Some students feel that holding the ceremony outside is necessary to minimize attendees’ risk of contracting the virus.
“I feel a lot more comfortable having an outdoor graduation because it reduces the risk of an outbreak,” senior Shai Ndashimye said. “Especially given that cases at Whitman have spiked recently, I don’t think it would be wise to have an indoor graduation this year.”
However, despite many students’ approval of the ceremony’s location, some seniors are disappointed that the organizers’ decision will upend the traditional graduation experience.
“Graduation marks a huge milestone in the lives of every student,” senior Gergo Pula said. “I think it’s a shame that this monumental event will take place on a football field.”
Two years ago, the class of 2020’s graduation took place over Zoom. Parents and seniors also organized car parades to commemorate the occasion in a COVID-safe manner.
“I was disappointed with the virtual graduation,” Aidan Kaufman (‘20) said. “I left it feeling like my high school experience was incomplete and unfulfilled.”
After two years of non-traditional graduation ceremonies, many students are thrilled that graduation will take place on the football field. Senior Jack Anderson believes that holding the ceremony on Whitman grounds will make the occasion all the more memorable.
“I am thrilled to have graduation on campus,” Anderson said. “The football field not only has plenty of space for the celebration, but I think it is far more meaningful to graduate on school grounds as a final goodbye to the school we spent four years learning in.”