A virtual graduation ceremony was held by T.C. Williams High School on June 13. Students and families celebrated across the city. Several speakers addressed the graduates, including ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, class president Amiya Chisolm, and 2016 graduate and U.S. Olympian Noah Lyles, who proudly displayed the graduation cap that he had decorated with the Olympic rings.
T.C. principal Peter Balas said in his commencement address from the school’s Parker-Gray Stadium, “Our sudden school closures in response to a worldwide pandemic is simply unprecedented and has thrown us all into a new way of living with almost no notice. But you have done it and still made it here today, your graduation.”
According to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, “Balas spoke of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the recent nationwide protests against racism. “I discuss this with you today, on a day of celebration, because it is the right thing to do,” Balas said. “Your generation has the power to change the world as we know it. Use your strengths to become agents of change and participate in productive activities that will result in our country instituting justice that has been so elusive for 244 years.”
As per Alexandria Gazette Packet, “Balas quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, saying “true peace is not merely the absence of tension, but the presence of justice,” before offering his closing remarks. “I look forward to the day when we can see each other again and plan future events to make up for what you have lost,” Balas said. “Today marks the end of one era and the start of a new one. I can promise you that the Class of 2020 will always be remembered.”