RANDOLPH, NJ- It appears that the Randolph High School Class of 2020 will be able to get the “in-person” graduation they deserve, however it will come with a slightly different twist.
According to a letter sent out to the RHS seniors and their parents on the morning of Saturday, June 13, the school plans to celebrate their seniors on July 8, with an in-person graduation for all students at one time. The ceremony will be slightly different than in years past however, as to the state restrictions on the number of people who can gather in one place will not allow for any guests – meaning parents, siblings, and friends will be unable to attend.
“While we know that our decision may not meet everyone's expectations, we do want you to know that it was based on information gathered from both students and families,” said Principal Debbie Iosso in the email that delivered the news. “We feel this honors a simple wish of our graduates during a year in which their typical traditions have been lost.”
The school surveyed parents and students with two options, one being the entire class to “be together” with no guests, and the second being where they would split into three separate ceremonies which would allow each student to have two guests. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the “All-together” ceremony.
Numerous social media posts in the past week were largely in favor of and promoted the “one ceremony” option. Even parents of seniors commented and posted about sacrificing their own desire to be in attendance to let the kids have their final bonding moment together, as COVID-19 and the stay at home orders took away so much from their final months of high school.
“There must be something said for this group of young adults who feel so strongly about being together on their high school field one last time before they go their separate ways,” said Superintendent Jennifer Fano in the announcement. “How could we deny them that opportunity after not having seen each other for the last 3 and a half months?”
There is still a catch however, and that is Governor Murphy needs to stamp his approval on the anticipated July 3 date for increasing gathering approvals to 500 people. The plan is for a morning service to avoid the potential July heat, scheduled for 9:30 AM on Bauer Field. Specific details are expected in the coming weeks.
As long as the number increases to 500 on July 3rd, the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 will be held on July 8th at 9:30 am on Bauer Field for graduates only.
Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends will not be entirely cut out however, as the school is taking steps to allow them to watch their graduate be honored.
“We also understand and empathize with our families who wish to celebrate in that moment with their children,” said Fano. “To that end, the ceremony will be live-streamed, and we will supply a photographer on Bauer Field for three days during the week of July 6th and offer time slots for anyone who wishes to sign up for photographs on the graduation stage.”