When it was clear that families, friends, and staff could not gather in person to celebrate the success of nine Child’s Voice graduates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 graduation went out to them. Child’s Voice broadcast our first virtual graduation to families, who watched and cheered from home.
Graduation recognizes students who transition out of the Child’s Voice program to their neighborhood, mainstream schools. It is a time to marvel at how far the students have come on their speech and language journey, as many join Child’s Voice as infants or toddlers in the Early Intervention program.
However, this year, Child’s Voice staff and students have not met in person since March 16 after Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered public and private schools in Illinois to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School continued via remote learning through the end of the school year in May.
“Graduation is one of the highlights of each school year. It’s a time when each student’s progress can be clearly seen and celebrated,” said Executive Director Dr. Michele Wilkins. “While we were disappointed that we could not welcome families, friends, and the community to on-site graduation, we still wanted to recognize our amazing students.”
Teachers and families worked together to have graduating students, in caps and gowns, record a short speech about their time at Child’s Voice. Teachers also found videos of each student early on in their time in the program. These videos were compiled and broadcast to all families on May 29, creating a 2020 graduation event that was enjoyed at home.