NEWS | June 10, 2020

High School on U.S. Navy Base in Japan Holds Socially Distanced Graduation Ceremony

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ian Cotter Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Students, faculty and families of Nile C. Kinninck High School onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), conducted a successful, socially-distanced graduation ceremony at the base’s football field June 5.

Despite the COVID-19 virus, and following strict safety precautions, 124 students of the high school’s class of 2020 walked across a stage and were presented their high school diplomas.

“You are about to step out into a world that is much more difficult than what we have enjoyed here inside the fence line of CFAY,” said Capt. Rich Jarrett, CFAY’s commanding officer, during his address to the students. “As you all graduate into that world, my hope is that you stand up and face down those challenges.”

Capt. Jarrett went on to express taking pride in overcoming future challenges. “As you get ready to head out into a world of tough assignments that aren’t always the assignments you’ve been seeking, I would ask that you give them every bit of your energy, your enthusiasm, and don’t ever for an instant, settle for doing things the way someone expects you to do things,” he said. “Do them the way that you know, inside of you, how to do it best.”

Families and students sat in socially-distanced pre-arranged seating through the ceremony, which ended with a symbolic cap toss.

“It is fitting that we will be the people making the histories of tomorrow,” said Daniel Posthumus, Kinnick’s 2020 Valedictorian. “Right now we find ourselves living through history, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. It is easy to lose oneself in the large scale of the crisis, and the inevitable plethora of tomorrow’s issues, yet I cannot help but keep coming back to the small moments. These are the moments we will remember at the hopefully maskless, social distancing-free reunions 10, 20, even 30 years from now.”

For 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.