Wilson Online Commencement
The Wilson Class of 2020 graduated in an online ceremony held via Microsoft Teams on June 17. Lasting for about an hour and a half, the ceremony consisted of musical performances, speeches, guest speakers, and an overarching theme of continued activism.
The commencement ceremony started with pictures of graduates and the congratulatory signs that were placed in their front yards. After a short welcome by Principal Kimberly Martin, the audience heard from Mayor Muriel Bowser and DCPS Chancellor Dr. Lewis Ferebee who both told the Class of 2020 to continue to use their voices to make a change in the world.
Following a transition performed by Wilson’s Jazz Band, the valedictorian, Saige Gootman, and salutatorian, Lucy Levenson, addressed their peers highlighting how they were inspired by the Wilson community to protest and be activists. Both students discussed their experience walking out and protesting after Trump’s election in November 2016. “We marched to prove despite our differences we are indivisible,” Levenson said. Gootman ended her speech echoing a quote she used from Theodore Roosevelt by telling her peers to continue to be activists. “For our families, our friends, our community, our country, and for each other, dare greatly.”
Special guests including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Regina Hall, Earthquake, Kenan Thompson, John Wall, and Ginuwine encouraged and congratulated the graduating class.
Words of encouragement about the graduates’ futures were also echoed in Martin’s message to the class. Martin addressed the power of the Black Lives Matter movement and honored those who have lost their lives as a result of police brutality. She highlighted how she wants the graduates to continue to be activists and fight the injustices in the US. Martin called the students a “class of revolutionaries” and told them to “be the helper [to change the world].”
Although the ceremony was a live event, most of the speeches and performances were recorded ahead of time making the transitions very fluid. Teams also provided a live question and answer chat option where friends and families expressed their support for the graduates.
After being accepted to graduate by Ferebee, administrators took turns saying students’ names as their senior portraits and future schools were shown on the screen. With the help of their class president, Keymiah Armstrong, students were told to move the tassels on their hats symbolizing their graduation and the end of their careers as Wilson students.