Reimagined Tradition, Same Community: Art Show and Senior Speeches 2020

In the face of the pandemic, Commonwealth’s students and teachers are not simply adapting but reimagining their education. Nowhere was this response more apparent than during our recent Art Show and Senior Speeches.

Always a special evening, the May Art Show is an opportunity for our visual arts students to showcase their year’s work. Typically the Commonwealth lobby and stairways are filled with impressive pieces from ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, drawing and painting, and photography classes. Artwork stays up through graduation, allowing visitors, friends, and family members to appreciate our students’ skill. 

But as with every other springtime tradition, this year art classes and the show called for yet another pivot. Undeterred by the move to virtual classrooms, our studio arts teachers created new lessons and assignments for the COVID-19 shutdown. Sculpture students were tasked with safely sourcing materials in their homes and neighborhoods, while photographers traveled the world with Google Street View and creatively used screenshots to make collages and new works. The result of a year in the arts—some created in our studios at 151 Comm Ave and some in students’ respective homes—is on display in our virtual gallery

The second component of this May tradition consists of remarks from a small group of seniors reflecting on their Commonwealth experience. This year (via Zoom), we heard from five students, each with a distinct story and perspective. These presentations always inspire. Our students reflect on their four years with poise and maturity beyond their years. This year was no different. In fact, none of the speeches were about what students are missing or the disappointment of a virtual senior spring. One student even remarked that the shift online served to further emphasize the strength of the school. 

The evening served as stirring reminder that, even apart, participating from our respective homes and screens, Commonwealth remains a united community. 

You can view the recorded event on Commonwealth’s YouTube page.