Graduations are a time of celebration and joy as the graduates look forward to their next journey. However, sometimes there is a hint of sadness over leaving friends, teachers, and in this case, a family. Monsignor McHugh School in Cresco, PA was more than a school. It was a family and a second home to so many. I can say this with confidence because I was one of those many. I attended this school from Pre-K to 8th grade and enjoyed every moment of it. The friendships and memories made during those years will never be forgotten. I am, and always will be, a proud alumna of Monsignor McHugh School.

When the opportunity to photograph the 8th grade class' graduation came about, I could not refuse. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was not going to happen in the traditional format. The principal, staff and parents made sure this class had a special ceremony nonetheless. The graduation started with the school's maintenance man leading the students in their cars up the hill to the school. The sounds of sirens, car horns, air horns, and cheering filled the air as the cars pulled into the parking lot and looped around the guests in attendance. Then the graduates got out of their cars and walked that same loop, surrounded by all their family and friends cheering them on. The principal gave a beautiful speech and the graduates received their awards and diplomas. Finally, the graduates moved their tassels and officially became graduates of Monsignor McHugh School.

This graduating class is the last class to call themselves McHugh alum. During quarantine and distance learning, the announcement was made that the school will not open in the fall of 2020. This was heartbreaking news for faculty, staff, parents, children, and even alumni. This school meant so much to so many. To see its doors close without a proper goodbye was especially hard to swallow. One thing is for sure though, the memories made will never be forgotten.

To Monsignor McHugh, you didn't just give me an education, you gave me a family-a family I could grow with, learn with, love with, and play with. You instilled in me values that I carry with me to this day. You encouraged me to follow my dreams and not give up. You gave me friends that I cherish to this day. You gave me the man I fell in love with. You gave me a firm foundation for the rest of my life. I will forever cherish you and keep you in my heart. MMS Forever!