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Littleton develops in-person graduation ceremony for seniors


May 20, 2020
LITTLETON — Thanks to school administrators, local fire and police departments and the town's health inspector, the Littleton High School class of 2020 will participate in an in-person graduation ceremony next month. While the plan is extensive, it honors the students' desire to have the experience together.

The morning ceremony will be held outdoors in the CTC parking lot with the pillars of LHS behind the students as they receive their diplomas. According to LHS Principal Jennifer Carbonneau the goal is to ensure that all students, families and participants maintain a minimum physical distance of six feet at all times and that all surfaces are cleaned between contact.

Designated drop-off times and locations are pre-determined for the students. All graduates will have their temperatures taken upon arrival and then be presented with face masks in the school's colors of burgundy and white. Students will then report to one of five assigned parking lots.

Ten chairs spaced a minimum of six feet apart will be located in each parking lot. Each lot will be monitored by a staff member wearing a mask and supporting the students as they cue up to receive their diplomas.

Families are to remain in their cars at all times. After dropping off the students, cars should report to the Saint Rose of Lima parking lot on High Street. A limit of two cars per family is allowed on-site and parents will be issued two parking passes to display in their windshields.

Families are to remain in their cars with windows closed until they have caravanned up Park Ave. They may roll down their car windows when traveling to see their children receive their diplomas.

While the graduation ceremony is a non-traditional event, it will still include a welcoming address by Jenna Doucette, the congratulatory speech by Carbonneau and both the Valedictorian and Salutatorian addresses.

"We've been on walkthroughs with the Fire Chief, the Health Inspector and the police. This plan meets many of the wishes of our kids and parents as well as practicing all the safety precautions. One of the biggest challenges is that there will be no rehearsals for the students," said Carbonneau.

"Two of the things that we tried to focus on were the before-and-after parts of graduation because that's where physical contact usually happens. We needed to put a lot of consideration into this event because I was afraid they were going to tell us we couldn't do it," she said.

The graduation plan was a direct response to school surveys completed by both the seniors and their parents. Carbonneau said the biggest takeaway from the study was the kids' desire to be with their classmates.

According to the survey a secondary wish was also to have family members and teachers present.

"We entertained a lot of different ideas. At that first meeting with the seniors they didn't even believe we would have to consider something different for graduation," said Carbonneau.

"A lot of schools are doing drive-by graduations where they drive up, get out of the car, receive their diploma and get back in the car. That's not what our kids wanted," explained the Principal.

Unfortunately, the Littleton High School plan does not include the teachers.

"They wanted to see the teachers one last time. Nobody left school on that last Friday thinking that they wouldn't see each other for the rest of the school year. We always thought there would be another day. Finding closure is tough when you can't wrap back around and be with people," said Carbonneau.

The Littleton High School graduation begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 6 with a rain delay start time scheduled for 1 pm. Students must be dropped off between 9:30 and 9:40 a.m. A live broadcast of the event will begin on Phlume Media's Web site at 9:45 a.m. Family members are asked to remain in their vehicles for photo opportunities.

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