From commencements by car to diplomas at the drive-in, most local graduation plans taking shape amid the COVID-19 outbreak are like the school year itself: nontraditional.
Instead of the time-honored pomp and circumstance, Keene High School will hold a vehicle parade June 13, starting at 10 a.m., according to an Instagram post on the khsclasscouncil2020 account.
Graduates picking up their caps and gowns June 9 will also be given a magnetic sign to place on the passenger side door of their family’s car, the post says.
Cars can be further decorated, but only one vehicle is allowed per graduate, according to the post.
Drivers will be directed around the school to the front of the building, where seniors will exit their vehicle, receive their diploma jacket and have their photo taken. Cars will then head to a second set of tables where graduates will receive their diplomas, the post says.
Hinsdale High School students will also participate in a vehicle parade, June 9.
Principal Ann Freitag said the cars will start at the school around 7 p.m. and make their way to the Northfield Drive-In for a makeshift graduation ceremony.
Once at the drive-in, Freitag said, the graduates will be awarded diplomas on a stage.
The Wiggins family, who purchased the Northfield Drive-In last month, will be showing a movie after the graduation for the seniors and their families to watch for free, according to Freitag.
Other districts, like the Monadnock Regional School District and the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District — both of which announced their plans last week — are having more traditional ceremonies.
Conant High School, part of the Jaffrey-Rindge district, is holding a socially distanced graduation June 12 at 7 p.m. at Silver Ranch Airpark in Jaffrey.
The district is providing face masks in orange and black, a nod to the school’s colors, for the graduates to wear throughout the ceremony, according to a letter Principal Brett Blanchard sent to parents and students.
Seniors will remove their masks only after receiving their diplomas onstage, for a photo opportunity before returning to their seats.
Chairs for the graduates will also be spaced 6 feet apart, the letter says.
For the ceremony itself, the podium will be disinfected between each speaker, and attendees will have their temperatures checked upon arrival.
The letter also notes a livestream of the ceremony will be set up for those who wish to watch from home.
Monadnock Regional High School has decided to postpone its commencement until August, according to Principal Lisa Spencer.
Like Conant High, the school had originally planned a socially distanced celebration in June, but the class of 2020 voted to push back the ceremony instead.
Students will be mailed their diplomas next month, Spencer said last week. If the August graduation falls through, the school will work with seniors on an alternative plan.
ConVal Regional High School is also postponing its ceremony until August, according to Principal Michelle Voto, based on a survey distributed to all seniors.
The details of the ceremony, slated for August 8, will be dependent on the future COVID-19 guidelines from the state, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Voto noted.
Officials from the Fall Mountain Regional School District were not available for comment Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 12th-graders aren’t the only area students marking milestones.
Winchester School will be holding a private ceremony for each graduating 8th-grader, according to Principal Valerie Carey.
The gym will be set up for a traditional commencement, but every child will be given a time slot over a two-day period to come in with their family.
Students will put on their cap and gown, walk across the stage with their teachers and receive their awards and certificates, Carey said.
Each mini-graduation will be recorded, and all of the footage will be compiled into a ceremony video to share with the families.
“We are holding out some hope to be able to have some sort of gathering for the students later on,” Carey said in an email, “so they can see one another and have some closure to this year which has been so extraordinary.”