SOMERS POINT — Pandemic or no pandemic, the teachers and staff at Jordan Road School and the Somers Point School District were determined to celebrate the accomplishments of their 88 graduating eighth-graders as they prepare to head on to high school. Gov. Phil Murphy had banned in-person graduations prior to July 6 and district Superintendent Michelle CarneyRay-Yoder said the principals and administrative team decided that rather than wait to mid-July to hold a modified in-person graduation, they would bring the celebration to each of the students.

On a Monday morning last month, a dozen cars and trucks gathered at the Egg Harbor Township Elks Club to begin their journey to bring school spirit along with their diplomas and Jaguar Pride to every student. With the address of every student mapped out, Jordan Road Principal Carleena Supp, CarneyRay-Yoder along with teachers and staff began their conga line of congratulations through the city.

Students had been alerted the team would be visiting, and they were asked to wear their cap and gowns. It was only 8:10 a.m., but Lionel Wilson and his mom were ready for the Jordan Road team to deliver his yard sign with his diploma on the sign for him to retrieve. As he posed in front of his home for a photo by Supp, Lionel was met with cheers, signs of Jaguar and JoRo Pride. He said a heartfelt thank you and waved as the team headed on to classmate Darius Shanks' home to spread that hometown pride.

CarneyRay-Yoder said, “We wanted to do something for our students that is personal and something that lets each of them know how proud we are of what they have accomplished, especially in light of the pandemic, virtual learning, and so much that has gone on since March when coronavirus interrupted life as we all know it. I think this is one way of us letting our kids know how special they are and that we wish them the best of luck as they move forward.”

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