LANGDON — The Fall Mountain Regional High School class of 2020 will get two chances to celebrate graduation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school is planning a virtual graduation and vehicle parade for Saturday, June 13, and a full traditional ceremony for either August or September, depending on when social-distancing measures are lifted.
“As you are aware, conducting the traditional activities is not possible this year, and we are deeply saddened by this. We are working hard to develop alternative solutions that we hope will be memorable occasions despite the challenging times,” Principal Richard Towne, Assistant Principal Heidi Gove and Graduation Coordinator Meg Cyr wrote in a May 4 letter to seniors and their families.
Students throughout the state have been learning remotely at Gov. Chris Sununu’s order since mid-March due to concern over the novel coronavirus. Sununu later extended that order through the end of the school year.
A survey of the Fall Mountain graduating class, organized by school leaders and the senior class executive council, found that a majority of seniors want both a virtual graduation in June and a full ceremony later.
The Fall Mountain virtual graduation, which will include remarks from a guest speaker, school officials and several students, will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube June 12, Towne said Tuesday. The video also will feature a photo slideshow set to “Pomp and Circumstance” and songs selected by senior class leaders.
On June 13, Fall Mountain seniors, dressed in their caps and gowns, will line the access road to the school, where a vehicle parade honoring them will begin at 10 a.m. Families of graduates and other community members are encouraged to decorate their cars, honk and wave to support the class of 2020.
Other local high schools are planning a mix of virtual, socially distanced and postponed graduation celebrations. Keene High School will also host a vehicle parade the morning of June 13, with seniors stepping out of their cars to receive their diplomas in front of the school. Monadnock Regional High School in Swanzey Center decided to postpone its graduation, with plans to hold an in-person ceremony in August.
ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough is also postponing its ceremony until August, while Hinsdale High School and Conant High School are opting for socially distanced celebrations in June. Hinsdale will hold a vehicle parade followed by a graduation ceremony at the Northfield Drive-In on June 9. Conant plans for a socially distanced graduation on June 12 at Silver Ranch Airpark in Jaffrey. Students will sit six feet apart and must wear masks at that event, which will also be live-streamed.
Fall Mountain hopes graduating seniors will be able to receive their diplomas at the in-person graduation in August or September, school officials wrote in their letter. The traditional ceremony will take place on the school’s football field, or in the gym if there is inclement weather. The school will share more information on the in-person graduation as the date approaches.