Thursday, July 30, 2020

6:00 PM


JULY 29, 2020

An Update from Scott Wich, Class of 2020 Head Adviser

Dear Class of 2020 Families,


Please click the following links to preview the final program for the 360th Commencement Ceremony and a list of final instructions/need-to-knows for families attending the event.


Printed copies of these documents will be distributed to each car upon arrival at the Commencement event, but please print them to bring with you if you prefer.


We are indeed proceeding with the event despite the small chance of weather interference, and are looking forward to a fabulous sendoff for the Class of 2020 tomorrow!


Best regards,

Scott Wich

Class of 2020 Head Adviser

JULY 24, 2020

An Update from Scott Wich, Class of 2020 Head Adviser

Greetings, graduates and parents of the Class of 2020! With less than one week to Commencement Day, here is the third and final update on the event, with full and complete details on everything you need to know. Please read through this communication carefully and completely, as I hope we’ve thought of everything and address it below. (Of course, let me know if there is anything that I missed, or that I can further clarify for you.) 

We are all very excited and very proud that we are able to produce what will be an amazing ceremony and a well-deserved celebration of the Class of 2020, and we appreciate the best efforts of all of you to make next Thursday a very special evening.


Best regards,



General Details/Points of Emphasis

  • Caps and Gowns must be picked up either on Wednesday 7/29 between 2:00 and 4:00 or on Commencement Day just before your Highpoint Picture family photo session. If you aren’t doing a family photo session and can’t make it to campus on 7/29, please email me ( as soon as possible to make another arrangement.

  • Yearbooks will be issued to graduates along with their caps and gowns at the time they are picked up.

  • Programs and a final list of Commencement Ceremony instructions will be handed out at the gatehouse as you enter Forest Road by a masked and gloved staff member. If you are not comfortable with that exchange, they will also be emailed to all graduates and families in PDF format the day before the ceremony.

  • Vehicles should be limited to one per graduate, with all family members included, contained, and enclosed within the vehicle at all times. (No convertibles, open tops, party busses, or seating in beds of pickup trucks, please.) It is imperative that all families are mindful of all other families throughout the event, and respectful of the varying levels of risk tolerance that each family feels is appropriate.

  • Family parking/viewing: Vehicles will be lined up and directed into the parking area by Hopkins staff, dropping off their graduate along the way. Click here to view a diagram of the ceremonial space and parking area—please note that the parking area will be separated from the graduate seating area by a minimum of 50 feet, and that four large LED screens will be arranged throughout the parking area to ensure that every single car has a good view of at least one of them. All vehicles will be able to hear the simultaneous audio for the event through an assigned FM frequency, so if your vehicle’s audio does not receive FM, you should bring a radio (with batteries!) to tune into the event. Therefore, please understand that no parking row/space will allow a significantly better viewing experience than any other one, and that it’s unnecessary and of little/no benefit to arrive early or work to “get a good spot.”

  • Bathroom facilities will be available—for “urgent” use only—on the top level of the Walter Camp Athletic Center. If you must leave your vehicle to use the facility, you must be masked at all times and return directly and immediately to your vehicle. Please plan accordingly.

  • Video/Photos/Downloadables of the event: For all graduates and families—particularly those unable to attend—full video and all photos of the ceremony will be made available soon after it ends. Family members may not leave their vehicles to record or take any pictures of the event.

  • General behavior/decorum. To adhere to state guidelines and to respect everyone’s ability to enjoy the event:

    • Please respect and follow all instructions and directions from Hopkins staff at all times.

    • Please do not honk horns or play loud music from vehicles, particularly during the presentation of diplomas. We want everyone to hear every name of every graduate, and we want the members of the class to cheer on each other as they have their moment.

    • Alas, graduates must not throw their caps in celebration at the end of the presentation of diplomas.

    • As a Hopkins School event, all school rules are in effect. For example, alcohol and tobacco/vaping products are not permitted.



Detailed Schedule of Events


Wednesday, July 29th: Cap and Gown Pickup (Option 1)

  • Please RSVP to Mr. Wich ( if you are going to choose this pickup option.

  • A temperature check should be taken before coming to campus. If you have experienced any symptoms or have been exposed to anyone at risk of having COVID-19, please do not come to campus. Please notify Mr. Wich ( if you are not able to come to campus.

  • Arrive anytime between 2:00 and 4:00 PM at the Knollwood Gate and follow instructions from gatehouse staff.

  • Students will receive their cap and gown and their Yearbook from Hopkins staff and exit via the Knollwood Gate.


Commencement Day: Thursday, July 30th

(rain date: Friday, July 31st – will be announced the evening before by multiple means, if necessary)

  • A temperature check should be taken by all family members before coming to campus. If you have experienced any symptoms or have been exposed to anyone at risk of having COVID-19, please do not come to campus. Please notify Mr. Wich ( if you are not able to come to campus for Commencement.

  • 12:00 – 5:00 PM: Highpoint Pictures family photo sessions. Arrive via the Knollwood Gate 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time slot. When your session is finished, you must leave campus via the Knollwood Gate, and re-enter the campus via Forest Road at/after 5:00 PM.

  • 5:00 PM: The Forest Gate will be opened at this time. Please do not arrive before 5:00 PM—not only do we want to avoid an unsafe backup of traffic onto Forest Road, but also, you will not get a “better” parking/viewing spot by arriving early. Again, if you have a Highpoint Pictures family photo session, regardless of the time you have arranged with them, you will need to leave campus when it is finished, and re-enter the campus via Forest Road at/after 5:00. 

  • 5:00 – 5:30 PM: Vehicles arriving will be arranged throughout the Forest Road lots by Hopkins staff.

  • 5:30 PM: Vehicles will be directed past Smilow Field, where they will drop off their graduate (wearing masks and appropriate footwear for a grass field and somewhat lengthy processional), and proceed into the parking area as directed by Hopkins staff. Graduates will be directed and arranged into their assigned positions at an appropriate distance by Mr. Wich and Mr. Jorgensen.

  • 5:45 PM: Vehicles will continue the parking process and tune in the designated FM frequency, while final instructions and encouraging words will be shared with the Class of 2020 on Smilow Field.

  • 6:00 PMPomp and Circumstance will play, and the processional will begin, from Smilow Field, past the Walter Camp Athletic Center, and through the Pratt Field Gates. Graduates will be distanced at all times and arranged into their assigned seats by Hopkins staff. The program will include:

    • Invocation by Rev. Thom Peters, Hopkins Faculty

    • Salutatory by C. Burton Lyng-Olsen, President of the Class of 2020

    • Valedictory by Kyle Shin, Valedictorian of the Class of 2020

    • Two musical performances

    • Address by Kai Bynum, Head of School

    • Presentation of Diplomas. Graduates will be directed (in alphabetical order and maintaining distance throughout) to the side of the stage, and proceed to pick up their diploma (from a table where a masked-and-gloved Mr. Wich will place it), exchange the essential Latin phrases, pause mid-stage for a professional photograph, and exit the other side of the stage where they will be directed back to their seat. Alas,  there will be no cap throwing at the end of the presentation of diplomas. 

  • 7:00 PM or thereabouts: After brief closing remarks by Dr. Bynum, the recessional will begin. Graduates will drop off their gown as directed and proceed back to their family’s vehicle. Families will remain parked until they are reunited with their graduate and directed to leave campus by Hopkins staff via the Knollwood Gate.

Additional Info about Out-of-state Travel


On July 21st, Governor Lamont issued an executive order (No. 7 III) requiring anyone who has traveled to a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The list of states affected by the advisory will be updated (here) on Tuesday 7/28, but currently, the list includes AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, LA, MD, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, and WI. Please do not attend the Commencement ceremony if you have spent more than 24 hours in any affected state in the last 14 days.

JULY 13, 2020

An Update from Scott Wich, Class of 2020 Head Adviser

Dear Graduates and Parents of the Class of 2020,

You may have heard Governor Lamont's announcement that the state will not move from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Therefore, the Stage 2 restrictions (150 "participants" in a graduation ceremony, other social distancing requirements, etc.) will still be in place for our Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, July 30 at 6 PM (rain date Friday, July 31 at 6 PM). While these restrictions require us to alter our plans and logistics for the event slightly, the principles and priorities that we've been working with are still very much intact. Again, those principles are:

  • That we follow city, state, CDC, and federal guidelines to ensure maximum safety and minimum risk.
  • That the whole class is together, in person, and in one place for their graduation.

  • That parents/families are as close to, and as much a part of, the ceremony as possible.

  • That we adhere to the traditions and rituals and the pomp and circumstance of the commencement ceremony as closely as we can.

The most significant alteration to our initial plan that remaining in Stage 2 requires is that we will need to more distinctly separate the vehicle parking area from the stage/seating area, with families (ONE CAR PER FAMILY) parking in rows at least 50 feet behind the last row of graduate seats. We will also have to require that families remain in their vehicles and that those vehicles are enclosed (no open convertibles or sitting in pickup beds, please). As with the Senior Motorcade back in May, we are requiring that masks are to be worn at all times. There will be a live FM radio transmission of the audio and video boards to make the live viewing experience as high quality as possible for your family.

We’ve arranged for on-campus, outdoor, family photo sessions by our usual Graduation Day photographers, Highpoint Pictures. The photographers will photograph families from a safe distance. Sessions are provided at no charge and are available throughout the afternoon of Commencement Day, Thursday, July 30 from 12-5 PM Please click here and select one 10-minute slot ASAP and plan to attend the same time the following day if there is rain. We encourage families that live locally to the school to choose an earlier time to allow families living further away to arrive closer to the ceremony start time.

During your session, photographers will take a variety of photos of the graduate, family, and siblings to provide families with options. Photos will also be taken during the ceremony as each student receives their diploma. You will be able to view and order all photos within two weeks, and you will be notified by Hopkins when photos are ready to view. Please direct any questions on the photos to Highpoint directly at (914) 738-5500 or


Caps and gowns are scheduled to arrive to campus on July 27. We will offer two cap and gown pick-up options: 1) between 2 and 4 PM on Wednesday, July 29, or 2) immediately before your photo session with Highpoint Pictures on the day of the ceremony. For either option, you should come to campus through the Knollwood Gate and proceed as directed.

In closing, you should have received the formal email  invitation for the ceremony. Please RSVP as soon as possible so that we can have an accurate count as we head into the next stages of our final planning. More detailed information about vehicle rules and restrictions and drop off/pick up procedure will come in our next update during the week of July 19.


Scott Wich

Head Adviser to the Class of 2020