Lombard students get graduation by delivery
Commencement came via delivery Friday for eighth-grade graduates of Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard.
Principal Mike Fumagalli and nearly 175 other staff members from Lombard Elementary District 44 visited the homes of more than 350 Westlake graduates on a sunny day to bring them a brief celebration.
Educators delivered a mini-ceremony with a graduation certificate, several celebratory items and a personalized video book.
Students got to see a variety of educators from their time in the district, with some seeing, for example, their kindergarten teacher and one of their teachers from eighth grade, said Jenn Nimke, director of communications and strategic planning.
The ceremonies wrapped up a year interrupted by the COVID-19 shutdown, a year that concluded after a phase of online learning.
District 44 staff members provided more than 25,000 meals to students between mid-March and the end of the year, delivering 1,500 of them straight to the homes of families who could not access pickup sites, Superintendent Ted Stec said in a video message posted on the district's website. Staff members also produced 9,600 remote learning plans and placed 32,000 phone calls to families to check in.
The personalized deliveries of graduation items, met by students with decorated lawns -- some of them in gowns of Wildcat blue, others in typical summer T-shirts -- highlighted what Stec refers to as the district's philosophy statement: "We Are All In This Together."
"Seeing our students again and having a moment to officially celebrate them was so meaningful to us," Nimke said,