When Shaka Rawls ’93 became Leo’s principal in 2016, he invited the alumni back for the first day of school to greet the students and welcome the newcomers to Leo. Alums gathered in the courtyard and shook the students’ hands as they arrived at school, a display of solidarity meant to remind the kids that by enrolling at Leo, they were becoming part of something special—the Leo Family. A reception in the cafeteria followed, featuring coffee, rolls and reminiscence.
“Opening Day” thus has become an annual celebration, with more than 60 alums taking part last year.
Of course, that was pre-COVID. With restrictions discouraging in-person contact and emphasizing social distancing, handshakes and face-to-face courtyard greetings were impractical and not advisable this year. So the alums were not part of Opening Day, which took place on Thursday, August 13.
“We missed the alums,” Principal Rawls conceded. “But we’re hopeful that this is a one-time deal and they’ll be back next year.”
COVID restrictions permitting, the alums also will be invited back to Leo for the annual Veterans Day observance, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 this year.