Seniors say goodbye at St. Francis High School

When the school year started, members of the St. Francis High School Class of 2020 probably had never heard of "social distancing" and, like many of us, thought a pandemic was something you read about in history books or saw in sci-fi movies.

They certainly never thought their end-of-year activities would feature a drive-through where teachers waved and cheered as seniors turned in their computers and collected goody bags with a class T-shirt, yearbook and their cap and gown for a graduation ceremony officials still hope to hold July 30 at the Wheaton school.

"There are a lot of feelings at once," school President Betsy Ackerson said. "We're sorry and sad we didn't get to do the things we hoped."

But, she said, there have been plenty of positives, too. Students and families have been "extraordinarily resilient" and the staff has been "very creative" in working to make the end of the year special, from distributing yard signs to visiting each house of students who were celebrated on Honors Night.

When the school year started, many in the 164-member Class of 2020 probably hoped the ending of their senior year would be different from any that came before. On Friday evening, it was - although not in the way they had dreamed.

But they're Spartans. And they're resilient.

  St. Francis High School alumni director Becky Fischesser hands senior Shannon Cooney, 18, of Carol Stream, a care package with her graduation cap and gown Friday. Mark Welsh/
  St. Francis High School teacher John Schuller waves and shows a sign of support as seniors stopped by the school to pick up care packages during a drive-through Friday in Wheaton. Mark Welsh/
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