Graduation 2021 is a return to normalcy

Through wearing masks and vaccinating students, the graduation ceremony will be run as normal this year except for a few changes. After the school year, the graduating class will attend a ceremony without social distancing.


***Sorting the tickets…**Preparing for senior checkout, secretary Kelli Nonemacher sorts the grandstand tickets to be put in the envelopes for graduates. There were 7 grandstand tickets put in the envelope per graduate for those whose family wanted to sit in the stands. Arrowhead Photo by Roman Craig*

With the lifting restrictions, the graduation ceremony is being set up by the faculty to have it run as normal while wearing masks on June 10 on the football field. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m.
Principal Sam Varano said that on Memorial Day, the state has decided to lift restrictions, which includes social distancing and maximum capacity.
“Masks will be required and there will not be elementary or middle school teachers represented in cap and gown,” Varano said.
Along with these changes, the graduation ceremony has been projected to be run as normal as possible since the restrictions will be lifted.
“It looks like we’re going to be able to run graduation exactly the way we’ve done it in the past,” Assistant principal Matt Haines said.
Haines along with many other administrators have been working on graduation since before the announcement.
Before the announcement that restrictions would be lifted, administrative assistant Dawn Kester helped to plan out a seating chart of six feet between each student as per the guidelines at the time.
According to Kester, the original plan was that there was going to be a “socially distant graduation” where all of the graduates would be six feet apart.
However, due to the lifting restrictions on Memorial Day, the graduation will not include social distancing.
“By the time graduation comes we’ll almost be back to normal,” Kester said.
Another option that the administration was working with was to have the class be socially distanced with more than one stage.
“We sat and looked at what it would look like to have the two stages,” Haines said.
According to Haines, with the restrictions being lifted and the masks being the only difference in the ceremony “now we can go back to the way things typically are.”
The preparation for this event has also been worked on by members of the graduating class, as well.
Senior class president Emily Pivnichny said that she has been preparing her commencement speech for the ceremony to discuss the class’s achievements in the pandemic.
“I’m really excited for the ceremony because it’s probably going to be as close to normal as possible, which is really awesome,” Pivnichny said.
According to Pivnichny, she will remove her mask for her speech only because the ceremony would not run as normal without the masks because “we wouldn’t be able to have as many people.”
Custodian Tom Coughlin said that setup for the graduation ceremony this year will be run as normal as well.
“It’s winding up to being the same set up as normal due to the restrictions being lifted,” Coughlin said, “and everything going back as of Memorial Day it’s going to be the same setup as we always do.”
Varano said that another difference will be a lack of handshaking between him and the students as they walk off the stage with their diploma.
“When graduates walk off, [Superintendent Frank] Gallagher and I will just stand there and say congratulations,” Varano said.