May 30, 2020 submitted by Sara Mason Ader, HHS PTO President 2018-2020
When a few classrooms caught fire at Hingham High late last spring and brought the school year to an abrupt end a few days ahead of schedule for the Class of 2019, that seemed like a pretty weird ending to the year. Who could’ve imagined at that time what 2020 would bring?
Along with school closures, the COVID-19 pandemic brought to a screeching halt the longstanding, traditional graduation celebrations for Hingham High School Seniors. Usually, HHS Seniors end the school year about a month earlier than the rest of the students. This past week would’ve been host to HHS Senior Awards Night, Senior Prom (with its glorious Red Carpet moments on our stunning Hingham Harbor), Graduation and Senior Night.
None of those events have been possible as originally planned due to current Social Distancing guidelines. That is no doubt exceedingly disappointing for the Class of 2020, but the will to recognize our 2020 Seniors in Hingham is far too strong to be outflanked by a virus.
Town officials, school administrators, parent volunteers and Hingham’s business community have worked together for weeks to come up with safe and creative ways to appreciate our Seniors. It’s taken a little time, but over the next few weeks and into the summer months, we hope the members of the Class of 2020 will feel all the love Hingham is sending their way.
Starting this past Wednesday and extending through June 7, downtown Hingham merchants are showcasing HHS Senior Photos in their storefront windows. We urge all members of the Hingham community to don their masks and check out these displays at a safe social distance. A similar display of candid shots taken over the course of the HHS Seniors’ lifetimes is in the works and is being scheduled at a second location TBA.
Any moment now, HHS Seniors should be receiving a link over email to a Harbor Media video with a pre-recorded graduation message. That video will go live on Saturday, May 30, which was supposed to be Graduation Day.
If you hear a commotion early on the morning of June 13, it will be the Class of 2020 Car Parade making its way down Main Street with police and fire escort. A modified Senior Awards Ceremony is planned for later that evening. Finally, graduation will occur in person on August 1 on the HHS Football Field as usual, but with some changes to accommodate health guidelines mandated by the state.
Although the usual graduation festivities would have occurred over a period of a few days, this year’s events will be spread out over a longer period of weeks. These celebrations will be different from the ones we’ve done in the past, but hopefully they will bring some joy to mark this important milestone for the HHS Class of 2020.
To add to the moment, the HHS PTO will be providing a quarantine care package later in the summer for each graduating senior. Each member of the HHS faculty and staff will also receive a quarantine gift. Be on the lookout for a little something special in early July.
For anyone unfamiliar with the HHS PTO, it is an organization made up of adult volunteers from throughout the high school community who are dedicated to supporting HHS in any way we can. That means funding teacher/staff assistance grants, student scholarships, guest speakers, parent education, special events, and many other activities and needs as they arise throughout the school year.
In my role as HHS PTO president, I’ve learned a few things about Hingham over the past two years:
1.) Hingham is chock full of teenagers with heart: From the Kindness Club to every sports team adopting a cause, most kids in Hingham generously share their gifts with everyone around them to the benefit of our community.
2.) Hingham parents will always go that extra mile when it comes to their kids: In addition to volunteering with PTO, Hingham parents bring limitless energy to HEF, HSP, HMPA, SEPAC, Boosters, and numerous other organized parent groups around town that ensure our kids are getting the support they need to thrive.
3.) Our local business community is extremely generous: Hingham merchants are constantly asked to donate gift certificates, sponsor activities, provide supplies and offer other support. They always generously answer the call.
4.) Town officials work very hard and are extremely dedicated: They may not always give you the answers you want to hear, but they are always there doing their jobs to keep us safe and doing their best to serve our community in any way they can.
On behalf of the HHS PTO, congratulations to the Class of 2020!
It has been my honor and privilege to serve the HHS community. I would encourage parents to participate in the PTO as a very gratifying way to support our school community. For more information about the HHS PTO, please visit our website at https://hhspto.myhalix.io/pages/home