In districts around New York State and in Prince George's County, Maryland, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection's classes of 2021 celebrated their high-school graduations in a variety of ways.
The nationally recognized HWSC program typically honors soon-to-graduate seniors with live Senior Celebration events in the community of each participating district, but safety precautions due to COVID-19 made innovative alternatives necessary for the second straight year.
- Long-form video tributes were produced and shared via social media to salute the graduating seniors of schools from the Rochester and Gates-Chili school districts as well as in the Prince George's County Public Schools.
- Forty-nine students from Binghamton High School and 10 seniors from Tiger Ventures in the Union-Endicott School District each gathered safely to celebrating their imminent graduations. These students represent the first graduating classes from their districts to have participated in HWSC.
- In Syracuse, collaborative support from Syracuse University enabled a unique two-night "drive-by" event (pictured) at which 240 students and their families each took turns accepting their recognition as soon-to-graduate seniors.
"Throughout this trying and unpredictable year, our students have given 100 percent in all they do and have continued to stay positive," said Karinda Shanes, HWSC Regional Executive Director for the Syracuse Region.
Founded in 1987, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection uses coordinated wraparound services to help high school students stay in school and achieve their goals of graduation, college and career. In 2020, seniors who joined HWSC in grade 9 and stayed with the program throughout high school graduated on time at a rate of 93 percent across all regions.