Melak Jashaami, center, is surrounded by family and friends dancing and clapping in a traditional Arabic celebration honoring Jashaami’s graduation on Wednesday from Lewiston High School. The single-person ceremonies happened at one-hour intervals throughout the day at Connors Elementary School in Lewiston to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Lewiston High School held its summer graduation ceremony Wednesday at Connors Elementary School, where 13 seniors were added to the Class of 2020.

Every year, Lewiston holds a graduation ceremony in June and another in August for students who needed more time to complete their work and earn credits.

Jay Dufour, assistant principal of Lewiston High School, said that under normal circumstances, the summer graduation ceremony is very similar to the June graduation “but on a smaller and more intimate scale.”

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dufour said that he and the administrative team in Lewiston had to get creative.

“We had to make a decision about what to do for the August graduation around the time of the regular graduation in June,” Dufour explained. “With the pandemic going on, it’s not easy to make forward-thinking decisions.”

Dufour said that of the 13 graduating seniors, “10 or so” elected to participate in Wednesday’s graduation.

“To make sure things are safe and to take advantage of the smaller number, we decided to hold an individual ceremony for each student,” Dufour explained.

Each student had their own time slot and were allowed to invite some of their family members to watch their ceremony.

Dufour said that the students also got to choose a staff member to invite up and “say a few personal words about their accomplishments.”

“That’s one thing that’s going to make this particular ceremony unique and more intimate than usual,” Dufour said. “We want to make it as special for each student as possible. This is a rite of passage. We wanted it to be meaningful.”

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