Elementary schools establish new ways to celebrate the fifth-graders


Credit: Jackie Cahaly

Following the lead of the middle and high schools, the elementary schools are making signs for graduating students. “We have done a number of special events for the fifth-graders including delivering the fifth-grade Loker PRIDE signs,” Loker Elementary School principal Brian Jones said.

Ellie Smith and Jacqueline Cahaly

Due to COVID-19, schools have found new ways to celebrate the students who are graduating one school and moving onto the next. These students include high school and college seniors, as well as fifth and eighth-graders. Because of social distancing, students are unable partake in typical traditions for graduating students, such as clap-outs and ceremonies.

“Fifth-graders were still able to do most of their typical events except that they were done in a virtual format,” Loker Elementary School principal Brian Jones said. “At Loker, they missed the Gillette Stadium and Walking Tour of Boston field trips.”

Fifth-graders, in particular, had to miss lots of activities and celebrations that have been the highlights of elementary school for many generations: the fifth-grade play, bash, biography project and clap out, which all can provide some of the best memories during the year.

“[What I am] disappointed the most about is the fifth-grade bash being postponed until September,” fifth-grader Grace Oppenheim said. “I wish we could have had the fifth-grade play on stage and the field days and I wish we could have done the biography project in person.”

Principles, teachers and students have all worked together to create an enjoyable end to the year by hosting virtual fifth-grade plays, biography projects and even drive through clap-outs to give the fifth-graders a semi-normal experience of graduating elementary school.

“We are having a virtual fifth-grade play, [and] the theme was picked out specifically because we are home, it is called: The Show Must Go Online,” Oppenheim said, “[It] is about a school [group] that does not know what to do because they are [stuck] at home. The teacher who has been putting the play together is Ms.Vanaria, and she has had a very tough job [getting] everyone involved and finding a [role] for them.”

The elementary schools’ faculty have been working hard to account for all the activities fifth-graders are missing. Along with an online fifth-grade play, teachers have also planned an online graduation ceremony.

“They are doing fifth-grade graduation on zoom, [which is] on Friday,” fifth-grader Lily Thirman said.

Following the lead of the middle and high schools, all three elementary schools in Wayland have created and distributed lawn signs for their graduating students as a way to celebrate their accomplishments.

“We have done a number of special events for the fifth-graders including delivering the fifth-grade Loker PRIDE signs,” Jones said.

One of the biggest setbacks for all of the graduating students is that they cannot participate in activities with their friends of which they have been looking forward to from watching older grades. The seniors can’t have large graduation, the eight-graders miss out on the Washington D.C. trip and the fifth-graders can’t have a real play or clap-out.

“I’m disappointed that the end of the year is being canceled,” Oppenheim said, “I think the part that’s upsetting [me] the most is that I have gotten to see all the other grades participate in a ton of fifth-grade activities and [that] my grade [is] not able to.”