When state health orders in mid-March meant the entire spring trimester would be completed online, so muchwas uncertain.
But the school and the class of 2020 were certainabout one thing: Woodberry’s 131st graduationexercises would be held on campus, and in person.
This year’s ceremony on August 7 and
8 brought eighty-five of the ninety-nine members of the graduating classtogether. Attendance was limitedto just a few family members pergraduate because of statewide capson gathering sizes. Everyone woremasks and seating was arrangedto allow for social distancing. Twolarge video screens allowed guests oncampus to spread out while still getting agood view of the ceremony.
The commencement speaker was DennisCampbell, Woodberry’s headmaster from 1997 to2014 and the grandfather of graduate CampbellKrause. In his address, Dr. Campbell drew on afamiliar text from his time at Woodberry — theseventeenth chapter of Jeremiah, which saysthose who trust in the Lord are like a tree plantedby a river, sending out deep roots and continuingto bear fruit even in times of drought. Graduatesof Woodberry, he said, have put down their owndeep roots here, roots they can call upon forstrength in the future when they facepersonal or professional challenges,or perhaps even a pandemic.
“The deep roots sunk atWoodberry will always remindyou to never settle for superficialor shallow thinking,” he said. “Thedeep roots sunk here will alwaysrequire you to be persons of high ethicalstandards, persons of honor and integrity.”The class of 2020’s time at Woodberry ended withan unusual spring and an unusual commencement.But those young men had already sunk deep roots,anchored in this school and its values.
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