After attending a former student's graduation from public high school in July 2019, May Center School staff walked away inspired to create a different kind of graduation for their own students. Little did they know that the ideas that inspired them would be vital to creating a virtual graduation ceremony during COVID-19 for seven students at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph, Mass.
Monica Lopes M.Ed., Family Services Coordinator; Melissa Winters, Educational Administrator; and Renee Budd, a classroom teacher, created a multi-faceted slideshow for and about each student. Building those very slideshows, started in July 2019 for the August 2020 graduation, became the foundation of a remarkable virtual graduation.
Last month, more than 50 family members, staff, and friends attended a graduation ceremony that honored the seven students – Jordan, Nathyn, Alejandro, Sean, Ryan, James, and Justin.
Like so many special occasions during the pandemic, this milestone celebration was a virtual event that took place via Zoom. Each student was celebrated with his individual slideshow featuring his time at May. The slideshows were a lively and joyful collection of the graduate's photos and videos, accompanied by teachers' and residential staff's tributes and well wishes.
Matt Riley, Psy.D., BCBA, the new Executive Director of the school, acted as master of ceremonies and introduced each graduate before his slideshow was shared. Read his opening speech here.
"The families absolutely loved it! There were plenty of tears, and lots of applause shared among everyone who attended," said Monica Lopes.
We are thrilled to share four of our student's graduation videos. Please watch each and we hope you are as touched as we are by them.