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HUNTINGTON — It was all Heather Waugh could do not to cry while watching her daughter, Adelyn, graduate from Covenant School’s kindergarten class Wednesday afternoon in the driveway of her own home.

Although unconventional, staff, friends and family made special trips to the houses of 21 kindergarten students, including Adelyn, to celebrate their accomplishments in a safe way, said Rebekah Shaffer, kindergarten teacher at Covenant and lower school principal.

“Since we couldn’t do kindergarten graduation in person, we decided to go to each of our kindergartener’s houses and do a little ceremony,” Shaffer said. “Kindergarten graduation is a really special time moving into first grade, and we want to make sure each family and child in our class feels special and knows that we love them individually.”

The home visits are taking place through Friday afternoon, complete with pomp and circumstance marches and caps and gowns.

“We are still being socially distant, careful, but it was important to us to go to the families where we could be safe in small groups and celebrate graduation,” Shaffer said. “Being a teacher, not being with your students goes against your calling. So we’ve missed them these last eight or nine weeks, seeing them. Going to each house, it has filled up our hearts and been that moment where we can have closure.”

Waugh said she is proud of her daughter’s hard work in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

“She didn’t get to finish actual school. It was really something that they took the time to come out and make the day special for her,” Waugh said. “It was hard on her to come out of school and have to stay home. I think today was really a celebration for that.”

And each year, Shaffer said teachers award the kindergarteners with two character words as they move on to first grade.

“She got ‘merry heart’ and she got ‘self-control,’” Shaffer said. “Adelyn is joyful, pleasant in the classroom, kind to her friends, and she’s a mature lady in a little body. She would display self-control when times were hard.”

Staff conducted similar ceremonies last week for the seven graduating seniors at Covenant School.

Follow reporter Hanna Pennington via Twitter @hpennHD.

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