Though lacking a formal ceremony, Tyson School still celebrates its graduates

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — With the academic school year quickly waning, Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts Principal John English, in his first year in the position, lauded the fortitude of the Class of 2020. 

English, who oversees both the high school and middle school, said, “I applaud the entire Tyson student body, especially the patience demonstrated by both the high school Class of 2020 and the eighth-grade Class of 2020.” 

Tyson will graduate 104 high schoolers at the end of the school year and 98 eighth-graders. Working to streamline the distribution of diplomas, the school’s secretaries will reach out to parents and guardians to schedule a time for families to safely pick up their child’s diploma as they adhere to social distancing practices. Along with the diploma, families will also be given a special edition newsletter and keepsake items. 

“I applaud them for their maturity as we navigate the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19,” English said, noting with sadness that the school will not be able to hold its traditional graduation ceremonies this year. “Traditionally, graduations are a very celebrated experience at Tyson. Some of our students waited seven years for this moment. 

“It breaks my heart to know that they cannot walk the stage. I would have loved to witness them receiving their diplomas and shaking their hands,” he continued. “This marks the last chance that they will be students of the East Orange School District. We wanted them to go out with a great experience, the Tyson way.” 

A full list of the high school graduates from the school will be published in the newspaper at a later date.

Commenting on the promotion of the eighth graders, English said, “The eighth-grade class grew up really, really fast. I remember when they came in as sixth graders; I was an assistant principal at the time. Some of them were pint-sized figures, and now, they have shot up, towering over me. I have seen how they have grown over the last three years. It is always a wonderful transformation to be a part of. It saddens me knowing that they will not have a promotion, or a school social to cap off their eighth-grade experience.”

The following eighth-graders will graduate as members of the Class of 2020: Bryan Acosta, Oluwasean Akinmoyowa, Isabelle Anglade, Fantasia Armstrong, Ashley Balbi-Rojas, Emani C. Barber, Matthew Barrett, Makei Boyd, E-Mony Braswell, Derrick Brown, David Jeremiah Buh, Gianna Carter, Jayson Cheek, Mekiah Clark, Elkens Collin, Quami Shaquille Kwame Commissiong, Cashmere Cooke, Mariah R. Crumbley, Jazii Davis, Blessed Defy-Pierre, Younica Dernier, Emilio G. Disla, Talib Dismuke, Antwone Dundas, Mickailah Duverne, Julie Duvestil, Alba Echeverria, Marcell Effah, Chidi Egenti, Danielle Ellis, Tamyjha Etes, Jonathan Fortunat, Kaylie Saleah Fraser, Adrian Gentles, Andy Gonzalez, Cassidy Hamilton, Husain Rasheed James, Louis Odelais Jean, Ajaya Johnson, Elijah Johnson, Kamel Johnson, Tamir Johnson-Jamison, Aniya Jolla, Tateland S. Jordine, Justin Keise, Jesus Koudou, Enyla Latta, Hudson Logan, Nevaeh Martin, Naima McConnell, Dashawn McDonald, Mikayla Mclean, Niikwashie Mensah-Sowah, Zachariah Miller, Ajee Monzon, Zyeajia Moore, Zayynah Muhammad, Ibn Muhammad-Ravenell, D’Andre Murphy, Alex Nicolas, Rawle Nurse, Yasmeen O’Uhuru, Caroline Paredes, Imani Patino, Jayden Person, Aaron Peterson, Naomi Pierce-Allen, Tony Reyes-Turcios, Marcellai Ross, Dandre Russell, Niomi Sellers, Arianna Serrette, Ihsan Sharif, Breanna T. Singh-Smith, A. Brihana Smith, Zaranah Smith, Rael Tavarez, Jamari Thompson, Marissa Tucker, Autumn Turner, Jasiah Valentine, Sumayyah Vandyke, Emely Vasquez, Elijah Vickerie, Malaysia D. Walker, Ashley Wallace, Jontae Walters, Bonnie Wedderburn, Sajada Whatley-Ingram, Nkechi Whitaker, Ashlee Williams, Najir Ray’Saad Williams, Robert Williams, Ayawlae Davaro Wilson, Kurt Wilson, Jayla Wooten, Alazia Wright and Elesear Yagoub.