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Federation holds virtual ceremony for graduating high school seniors

Staff member organizes on-line commencement for her son and others; VIPs respond with video speeches

Earning a high school diploma is so much more than a graduation ceremony. However, for members of the Class of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home guidelines has meant their senior year will end without the usual pomp and circumstances.

That is why Federation staff member Kristin LaRose took action to assure her son and other graduates were recognized for their accomplishment by hosting a “virtual” graduation including some distinguished special guests.

“My goal with this virtual ceremony is to show students, their families and friends that even though we cannot celebrate in person at this time, we can still join together in new ways to celebrate such a huge achievement,” said LaRose, who is the Workshop and Conference Coordinator/Executive Assistant at the Federation.

LaRose launched a social media campaign asking high school seniors and parents or guardians of graduating seniors from across Massachusetts to email their name, school, and yearbook or senior photo along with a favorite quote.

Because the Federation believes in promoting an inclusive community, LaRose invited students living with and without disabilities.

The Federation would then share the commence announcements in early June on its website and Facebook page in a celebratory tribute to the Class of 2020.

LaRose also contacted VIPs to request that they submit video salutes to the graduates. So far, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Karen Hallion, an illustrator known for her work for Marvel and Lucas Arts have responded.

“As a mom to a graduating high school senior, the idea to host a virtual graduation ceremony came from wanting to show my son and his peers that being proud of earning your high school diploma is so much more than the ceremony we all picture in our heads,” LaRose said.