July 27, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer (photo from 2019 HHS Graduation by Tammy Hutchison)
It's been nearly two months since the traditional Hingham High School Class of 2020 graduation was first postponed due to COVID-19, but patience has paid off -- with an in-person ceremony planned for this Saturday.
The graduates will wear face masks and remain socially-distanced from one another, and there will be no tossing of caps at the end of the ceremony, but that's unlikely to dampen their spirits since the main goal -- and hope -- was to be able to participate in a live ceremony.
In a letter to seniors and their parents yesterday, Principal Rick Swanson said that together with local health and safety officials, school administrators are continuing to refine the plans for an in-person graduation ceremony to be held August 1, at 5 p.m., on the high school field.
"Thank you for your patience in waiting for the details of this event, as we worked with local officials to make it as fun and memorable as possible," Swanson wrote. "We can't wait to see all of our seniors on August 1!"
Seniors, dressed similarly in red gowns and caps with tassels and wearing special HHS Class of 2020 face masks, courtesy of the HHS PTO, will assemble for the procession -- distanced six-feet apart and spaced out across the entire field.
The graduates will be seated between their maximum of two guests, facing the home bleachers. As an added feature, the PTO has also put together small care packages for each graduate, which they will find on their seats. Faculty, School Committee members, and others involved with the ceremony will sit on the bleachers.
In accordance with state guidelines, the ceremony will be as brief as possible. That said, the graduates will come forward when their names are called to receive their diplomas, which will be placed on a table.
There will be no handshakes or direct contact, with the exception of any senior whose parent is a current or former School Committee member. That's because school district policy allows past and present School Committee members to personally present their student's diplomas.
Protocols will be in place to ensure social distancing throughout the entire event, with face masks required for graduates and guests alike, and everyone in attendance -- before, during, and after the ceremony -- unless an attendee is unable to wear one due to a medical or other disabling condition.
For those unable to be there in person due to the guest limit of two members of a graduate's immediate family, Harbor Media will provide a livestream on its Facebook page. A production developed from that footage will be broadcast, and a DVD available for purchase, at a later date.
"We're grateful for Harbor Media's partnership in memorializing all of our major senior events," Swanson said.
The raindate is Sunday, Aug. 2, at 5 p.m.