Clairbourn School: A Special Graduation for the Class of 2020

Graduate Kaylie S. walks along the quad to “Pomp and Circumstance” music after receiving her diploma.


How do you properly honor a group of 8th grade students, full of achievements and ready to graduate, who have spent as many as 11 years of their childhood at one school? Due to the pandemic of 2020, normal graduation ceremonies and gatherings were not allowed, but Clairbourn found a way to honor each student with a special family graduation appointment. Using the spacious center quad to present diplomas was perfect because it allowed for social distancing, beautiful photographs, a symbolic graduation walk, and contactless delivery of the diplomas because parents were asked to hand the diplomas to their children and shake their hands.

With only the Head of School Dr. Amy Patzlaff, Assistant Head of School Janet Taylor, and a photographer in attendance (all wearing masks of course), the students took one last walk on campus while “Pomp and Circumstance” music played in the background. After receiving their diplomas, they were delighted to open a gift box filled with helpful books from the Clairbourn Alumni Association, graduation party supplies, and custom cupcakes displaying their names. Each graduate also went home with their own director’s chair bearing their name and the Clairbourn School logo. Finally, on Wednesday, June 3, all of the graduates tuned in to YouTube for a watch party to view the streamed compilation video of all of their graduation appointments.

The video also contained special pre-taped words of wisdom from their middle school teachers, four speeches from graduates, and remarks by Head of School Dr. Patzlaff who shared: “When I think about this class, your impressive and varied talents come to mind, as well as your ability to navigate surprises, like the switch to remote learning in the middle of the school year. At Clairbourn, you have become specialists in the skills that apply to all games and all situations. We have talked about these skills in our daily Morning Assemblies, and these are the qualities from our Code of Ethics: honesty, respect, responsibility, citizenship, and spirituality. These are the skills you need for success in life.

People keep referring to “these uncertain times” or “an uncertain world.” But there is certainty in how you approach your life even when it feels unfamiliar. You always have the choice to act ethically, and that is what gives you control in the game and in life. When you choose to bring an ethical code of behavior to any game in a consistent and intentional way, you succeed. So Class of 2020, I wish you all the best because you are prepared with this special secret for your path. Clairbourn is proud of you because we know that, in the end, the medal they will hang around your neck will say that you played the game well with honor and intention, and you are Scholars and Leaders with Heart.”

The Class of 2020 will attend the following high schools: California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley, Campbell Hall, Flintridge Preparatory High School, La Salle High School, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Mayfield Senior School, Polytechnic School, and St. Francis High School.

Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit










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