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West Boylston, MA –  With his newest class of eleven recruits ready to graduate after completing numerous interviews, mental health screenings, physical fitness metrics and a rigorous twelve-week academy at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and his department were ready for their latest recruits to take their official oath and begin active duty on the line at their correctional facility.  A normal rite of passage for the fifty-two previous Basic Recruit Training Academies has been a large graduation ceremony full of Sheriff’s Department traditions with friends and family.  Many of the ceremonies are held at Anna Maria College in Paxton.  This year’s WCSO Basic Recruit Training Academy #53, like graduation ceremonies around the country in the era of Coronavirus, was very different.  
A private, socially distanced, and masked ceremony provided by Sheriff Evangelidis was held on the grounds of the Sheriff’s Department.  In all, eleven recruits and a small group of the Training Staff were in attendance.  During the very brief ceremony, a masked Sheriff Evangelidis thanked the recruits for “stepping up to assist the Department in their critical mission of public safety, especially during this challenging time that we all find ourselves in. I could not be more proud of this class.” 
The Graduating class includes recruits from the Worcester County towns of Auburn, Barre, Dudley, Fitchburg, Leicester, Sutton, Southbridge, and Worcester. Four members are active or honorably discharged military in the United States Army, Airforce, National Guard, and Reserves.  
During the ceremony, the recruits avoided the traditional cadence style entrance, presenting of the colors and customary pinning.  Instead, eleven recruits remained stoic, masked, and socially distanced in their seats until it was time to stand to take their official oath as Correctional Officers.  All were grateful to have a ceremony, which was streamed on Facebook Live for their families to see. 
“In this uncertain time, we felt it was important to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our newest correctional officers.  I know the recruits and their families appreciated the small, safe, and private ceremony we provided.”  Evangelidis continued. “Now, they will begin the important work done here every day at the Sheriff’s Department to help protect public safety and make Worcester County a safer place.”  Said Evangelidis.
At center, a masked Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis is pictured with the masked recruits of Basic Recruit Training Academy #53, who graduated to become Correctional Officers on Friday, May 22, 2020, in a small, private ceremony held on the grounds of the Sheriff’s Department.  The unusual ceremony had to forgo all previous graduation traditions held at the Sheriff’s Department due to precautions taken regarding the Coronavirus.