It’s outdoor graduations all around this June, as local high schools have set their ceremonies after a year of remote, hybrid and in-person learning.
Several districts are revisiting plans put in place last year, with only slight modifications.
The ConVal School District is holding its graduation on the high school football field, as is tradition, said ConVal High School Principal Heather McKillop, though last year, the ceremony was delayed until August. The Class of 2021 graduation ceremony is scheduled for Friday, June 11, at 6 p.m., with potential rain dates on both Saturday or Sunday morning.
Families will be allowed to sit together on the field but will be physically distanced from other attendees. Each graduate is permitted to invite up to six people to sit in their family group. Everyone attending the graduation, including seniors, will be required to wear masks.
“We’re excited to honor and celebrate our seniors, who have been so resilient in these trying times,” McKillop said.
ConVal will also be moving forward with its other end-of-year events, including senior awards night and a prom, both of which will be held outdoors at the high school the week before graduation.
Both Keene and Monadnock Regional high schools are also planning outdoor graduation ceremonies on their campuses. Keene’s commencement is scheduled for Friday, June 18, at 6 p.m., with a rain date of the following morning, while Monadnock in Swanzey Center will celebrate graduation Saturday, June 5, at 10 a.m.
The Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative High School has, for the second year in a row, rented the Milford Drive-in Theater for its graduation ceremony.
Last year, parents and families sat in their cars while seniors walked across the stage under the big screen to receive their diplomas, and a similar set-up has been arranged for this year’s graduation, which is set for Saturday, June 5.
Mascenic High School will hold its graduation on Friday, June 4, in the same format as 2020, with a stage set up in front of the high school and the audience seated in the parking lot.
Mascenic Superintendent Chris Martin said the graduation will be much like the 2020 version, but some adjustments have been made to allow families to be seated together in “pods” of up to six people.
Family pods do not need to wear masks while they are together but will need to don them if they leave their designated seats. Graduating seniors will wear masks while marching, but can take them off when they reach their seats. The district has not determined yet if seniors will be wearing masks as they accept their diplomas.
“As always, everything is subject to change,” Martin said. “A lot of this depends on what the virus does between now and then. Nothing is set in stone.”
Mascenic seniors also typically participate in an optional Baccalaureate ceremony, a religious observance for graduates. Martin said protocol for the Baccalaureate is still under discussion and may be tied to the restrictions provided by the venue, which is traditionally the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge.
Last year’s Conant High School graduation ceremony was held at the Silver Park Airfield, but the 2021 graduation will return to school grounds.
Graduation for Conant High School is scheduled for June 18 at the Conant High School track, if the weather allows. If there is rain, the ceremony will be held at the Pratt Auditorium at Conant High School.
Attendance will be limited, but there will be a livestream of the event for those who can’t attend in person.
The district also plans to move forward with its usual full slate of “senior week” activities between the end of senior classes on June 11 and graduation, including the senior breakfast and Baccalaureate, which are community-sponsored events.