St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point started in 1872. The grade school has a long tradition of graduating it’s 8th graders upon completion of their school career with great pomp and circumstance. This year’s graduation Mass and conferring of diplomas was in jeopardy due to social distancing restrictions. For weeks, the leadership at St. Mary’s, along with a special graduation committee which was formed, fretted over the possibility of disappointing the students and their families by cancelling graduation or holding it “virtually.”
With the date looming, a plan was finally decided upon that would allow the graduation to take place, live in person, while maintaining social distancing best practices. St. Mary’s 8th graders were able to participate in a graduation that was unlike any in St. Mary’s long history on Wednesday, May 27th. While the students attended in the church, their parents watched remotely via Facebook Live. Students were required to wear masks and sit a minimum of eight feet apart in designated spots in the pews. Hand sanitizer was dispensed to each student upon entry to the church and other accommodations were made as well. Even the class photo was untraditional in the fact that Father Patrick Kalich, pastor of St. Mary’s, allowed a drone to be flown in church for a very unique class photo. “Parents and students seemed very happy that we were able to celebrate this graduation mass, albeit very different than our normal graduation, to cap off a wonderful career for these students. It was a challenge to put together, but these kids deserved it,” said school principal, Tom Ruiz.
St. Mary’s is currently accepting applications for new students. Those interested in a rigorous curriculum loaded with extra-curricular and service opportunities, should visit stmarycp.org/school.