Northbrook School sets plans for 8th grade commencement

Ceremony to be held on May 28

Posted 5/13/20

MENDOTA – Northbrook Middle School will hold its eighth grade graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 28.

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Northbrook School sets plans for 8th grade commencement

Ceremony to be held on May 28


MENDOTA – Northbrook Middle School will hold its eighth grade graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 28. The ceremony will not be the same as previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Northbrook Principal Paula Daley said the school has worked very hard to make this a memorable celebration for students, parents and the community.

“We are going to have a graduation ceremony and it is going to look different,” Daley said during a Facebook Live video on May 8. “But with every ounce of who I am and how much I love this school and love these kids, the eighth grade team and I, along with Dr. School and the school board, have worked to make it the respectful, honorable ceremony these eightth graders deserve.”  

In the video, Daley discussed details for the graduation ceremony as well as dates and times for all students to turn in school-owned materials and pick up their locker belongings. A letter was sent to all parents with instructions for the end-of-year activities and Daley’s video is available to view on Facebook and YouTube.

Key Dates and Info

Locker clean-out, gown pickup - Thursday, May 21 and Friday, May 22 - 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

  • All students - Everyone is asked to wear a mask and gloves and stay six feet apart while in the building. Students will turn in all school-owned materials (textbooks, library books, Chromebooks, etc.), and all outstanding fees must be paid (school fees, library fines, lunch balance, etc.). Daley said phone calls are being made this week to families with outstanding fees. Students will also pick up their locker belongings.
  • 8th graders - Eighth grade students will also pick up their graduation gown and a special gift bag during this time. There will be a special section set up for eighth grade. Students will also be asked to confirm with the school if they are taking part in the graduation ceremony. Those participating will receive a number and that will be their place in the lineup of cars.

Daley said any eighth grader who cannot come to school those two days, should call or e-mail her and other arrangements can be made. However, anyone who does not pick up their gown or contact her will be excluded from the ceremony.

Marquee available for photos - Tuesday, May 26

  • The marquee sign in front of Northbrook will be updated and available for graduate photos May 26-31. (NO PICTURES will be allowed from 3 p.m. on May 28 until the morning of May 29.) The sign will have a congratulatory message for eighth graders and be decorated with flowers and ribbons for photos. Daley stressed that if a student/family is there taking photos, other families should wait and maintain appropriate space according to social distancing norms. She also reminded everyone that students/families will not be allowed to get out of their cars during the ceremony on May 28.

“Prior to the day of the ceremony, students can come dressed in their gowns for pictures,” Daley said. “We’ll make the front of the school look amazing and beautiful to honor our phenomenal eighth graders and this will be a photo op time for them. We do not want students leaving their cars during the procession.”

In planning the ceremony, Daley said some concern was expressed about students gathering in groups. “People are worried that the kids will want to be together and take pictures – we understand that,” she said. “It’s our job to protect them to the best of our ability. We are going to have designated times for pictures and we want you to respect that. When you pull up to take pictures, if others are there, wait in your car until they leave.”

Facebook Live Awards Presentation - Wednesday, May 27 - 6:30 p.m.

  • Eighth Grade Awards will be announced on Facebook Live. Immediately following the presentation, the eighth grade video will be presented on District 289’s Facebook page and on YouTube. Daley said the eighth graders have been working on the video with Mrs. Gehant.

Thursday, May 28: Promotion Ceremony

  • Ceremony procedure

6:30 p.m. - Students and their families will begin lining up in their cars. The eighth graders will receive a number when they pick up their gowns, and that will be the order they go in the lineup of cars. The lineup will be directed by school personnel and the Mendota Police Department.

  • Ceremony begins

7 p.m. - The promotion ceremony will be live broadcast on WGLC’s Facebook page and afterward, it will be posted to Mendota 289’s Facebook page and YouTube page. The live broadcast will allow family and friends to watch the ceremony safely from home.

The cars will be timed as they proceed in front of Northbrook and each student’s name will be announced on the speaker system as they drive through the circle. The car will pull in the driveway where students will receive their certificate and any awards they won. Eighth grade teachers will be on the sidewalk to safely congratulate and support the students.

Daley said staff and school board members will be the only people allowed out of their vehicles and on the sidewalk during the ceremony. She also emphasized the importance of safe driving practices put forth by the Mendota Police Department. “We have to remember everybody is going to be super excited that night and we have to practice safe driving,” she said. 

In case of rain, the ceremony will be held on May 29.

“I know this isn’t what everybody envisioned in their head, but it will be beautiful, special, celebratory, and it is going to highlight each child as they pick up their certificate at the end of the drive,” Daley said. “Everything about this is for our Northbrook kids and this class especially. If there is a group of people who should be honored in a unique way, it’s this group of 100 students.”

In closing, an emotional Daley stressed how very proud everyone is of this eighth grade class. “This is where resiliency is going to shine for them,” she said. “Please know we have put our heart and soul into this and we want it to be beautiful and special and memorable, most of all memorable. It has been well thought out and planned.

“We love them and we’re very sad their eighth grade year is going to end without the traditional ceremony,” she continued. “Part of my heart is very sad but I know after doing this cycle so many times, they’re ready to be ninth graders, ready to say I’m a Mendota High School Trojan. So, sending them off brings me joy because they’re ready to go to that beautiful school with that beautiful system.”

Daley said anyone with questions, worries, comments or fears is welcome to contact her by e-mail at or by calling the school at (815) 539-6237.