Shown are the "Top 10" graduating seniors from St. Rose High School. To celebrate their top 10 ranking, the school's principal, two vice principals and media relations coordinator, visited each student at his or her  home and presented him or her with their academic cord. Photo from St. Rose High School Facebook page
Shown are the "Top 10" graduating seniors from St. Rose High School. To celebrate their top 10 ranking, the school's principal, two vice principals and media relations coordinator, visited each student at his or her home and presented him or her with their academic cord. Photo from St. Rose High School Facebook page
Administrators in St. Rose High School, Belmar, are coming up with creative ways to celebrate the Class of 2020 and their accomplishments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a livestreamed Mass celebrated the morning of April 30, the names of students who rank in the top 10 of their class were announced. After the Mass,  principal John Tonero, vice principals Timothy O’Halloran and Dennis Carey, and Michael Falgares, who handles media relations, traveled to the students’ homes to present academic honor cords.

“Our administrative team is in constant conversation about how, under the current circumstances, we can best provide our seniors with their culminating activities,” Tonero said.

During the Mass, after each name was read, Tonero held that student’s cord up and virtually congratulated him or her. The student’s graduation picture also appeared on the screen.

Because the students were not physically present to receive their cords, “we thought it would make the day really special if we delivered them to their homes,” he said.

During their visits to the homes of Sean Donohue, Mercedes Escandon, Daniel Magrini, Joseph Peracchio, Olivia Peters, Mia Quiles, Elena Rowhit, Mary Schuld, Olivia Stoddard and Celia Tave, Tonero, and the two vice principals placed the school’s purple and gold flag by the front door along with a plastic bag containing the honor cord. They then stood several feet away, as to maintain a sufficient social distance, while chatting with the student and his or her family members. Falgares captured each visit by taking photos and reading some of the messages of congratulations that were posted during the livestream.

As Escandon posed for a photo with her brother, Lucas, she thanked Tonero for delivering her honor cord then extended congratulations to her fellow Top 10 students “for doing such a good job.”