Legislative Hall Lights to Salute Delaware High School Graduates

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Image courtesy State of DE

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted countless school activities nationwide, not the
least of which are the commencement ceremonies for graduating high school seniors.

Some high schools are considering conducting virtual ceremonies online, while others
are simply mailing the graduates their diplomas. In other cases, academic officials are
weighing the possibility of holding belated commencements after the current crisis has
passed.

“It’s likely that most members of the Class of 2020 are going to miss one of life’s
milestone moments,” said State Rep. Lyndon Yearick. “I thought of the specialty lighting on the capitol’s cupola as a means of symbolically congratulating our graduates.”

The Division of Research, which is responsible for managing Legislative Hall’s physical
facility, was approached about the idea. “We worked with the Division of Facilities
Management to develop a plan for lighting the cupola in the school colors of about 58
different high schools over a two-week period,” said Division of Research Director Mark
Cutrona. “We then approached Speaker Schwartzkopf and President Pro Tempore McBride, who were enthusiastically supportive.”

Legislative Hall’s cupola is a Delaware landmark. Its computer-controlled LED lighting
can be programmed to display a wide array of colors and patterns. The specialty
system is used dozens of times throughout the year to promote causes ranging from
Work Zone Safety Week to Lyme Disease Awareness.

Over nine weekdays the cupola will display a different combination of school colors
each night, beginning with blue & white on May 18 (variations of which are shared by 12 different Delaware high schools) and concluding with blue & gold and blue & orange on May 29.

In addition to Rep. Yearick, members of the General Assembly’s other three caucuses
commented on the combined effort to honor graduates:

• “Congratulations to the Class of 2020 on their graduation,” said State Rep. Kim
Williams. “Your achievements have not gone unnoticed, and while there cannot be in-person ceremonies, we wanted to commemorate your graduation in a memorable way. This is one small way the General Assembly can honor your accomplishments. I and all my colleagues are very proud of you all and we look forward to watching your achievements to come.”
• “High school graduation is one of the most important moments for our students and their families,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride. “We have all had to make sacrifices during this pandemic and I know this is one of the most painful for the young men and women who have worked so hard to reach this point. This effort is just one of the many ways our state is pulling together to support you and celebrate your success. Congratulations, Class of 2020!”
• “Delaware’s high school seniors are going through an unprecedented time, including the loss of some special landmark events in their school careers,” said Senate Minority Whip Cathy Cloutier. “After all that they’ve put into their education, we are pleased to provide this tribute to recognize these future leaders.”

Additionally, when lawmakers return to work next month, a bipartisan House Concurrent Resolution will be passed congratulating the members of the High School Class of 2020 and recognizing them “as pioneers of new social norms and practitioners of strength during these uncertain times.”