By AFRO Staff

Wide Angle Youth Media and WYPR 88.1FM partnered to host the first-ever virtual graduation for its seniors on June 25. Graduation featured a keynote address by Baltimore born actress Tiffany Boone, as well as guest speakers Erricka Bridgeford, Lady Brion, and D. Watkins on the theme, “Thriving, not Striving.” The event highlighted Wide Angle’s seniors, high school seniors and community members across the city. Many tuned in for an inspiring evening to celebrate and commemorate this key milestone on Wide Angle’s Facebook livestream. 

For Baltimore City College High School Senior Ezra Crawford, COVID-19 was an opportunity to appreciate the privileges he has that others don’t. “I’m grateful just to be able to have an education, and to say that I’m a member of the Berklee College of Music class of 2024. I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities that a lot of students, no matter what race, don’t have access to what got me to where I am today.” His senior year has also been an opportunity to stand up for something bigger as his work in the community has helped elevate historically unheard voices. “I honestly forgot that I was graduating, because my senior year took a backseat to my activism.”

The class of 2020 is thriving, not striving and COVID-19 can’t stop them from celebrating their accomplishments! (Courtesy Photo)

Students and staff at Wide Angle are determined to innovate and find new ways to honor Baltimore’s class of 2020. COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of the normal high school experience, but Baltimore’s class of 2020 has risen to the occasion. Their final semester was upended by new challenges, navigating virtual learning, spending what should have been their last months together in isolation and building class camaraderie during the social distancing era. Wide Angle’s high schoolers and our seniors in particular, have continued to work on personal and group creative projects, using the opportunity to apply their artistic skills to creatively engage their community, spread awareness about COVID-19 and host almost 200 community members in a virtual prom earlier this spring.

Tia Thomas, current graduate of Baltimore School for the Arts and Wide Angle Youth Media team member, shared Ezra’s sentiments and was actually excited and looking forward to all the ways our community has innovatively worked together to still celebrate the Class of 2020. “I’ve had a virtual graduation, I did my walk in my backyard, and I’m having a drive-by celebration this week.” For Tia, it’s definitely been a different experience than she expected for her senior year, but it’s still been a lot of fun. When asked about WAYM’s grad ceremony she expressed that “Anything Wide Angle does is always amazing, so my expectations are high for virtual graduation.” 

Through media arts education, Wide Angle Youth Media cultivates and amplifies the voices of Baltimore youth to engage audiences across generational, cultural and social divides. Our programs inspire creativity and instill confidence in young people, empowering them with skills to navigate school, career and life. Since 2000, Wide Angle Youth Media has worked with over 5,500 youth from across Baltimore City who have produced hundreds of digital media projects about their lives and communities. For more information, visit