SOMERS, N.Y. – Somers high school seniors, the waiting to find out what’s happening with graduation is finally over.
Commencement ceremonies will be held on Tuesday, June 23, in the Jefferson Valley Mall parking lot, high school Principal Mark Bayer announced Monday, May 18.
Meanwhile, celebrations honoring the Class of 2020 will be kicked off on Friday, May 29, with a big parade through town.
Bayer thanked various committees, the PTA, the school’s “awesome” students advisors Christine Spencer and Brenda O’Shea, and members of the Class Board, for their help putting the events together.
Everyone has been working for a month trying to figure out how to hold graduation while following social distancing guidelines and health regulations, he said.
The district has dedicated the month of June as “Senior Month” for the Class of 2020.
The event will be kicked off with a “Senior Salute,” a parade starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 29.
The grads will be driven by a parent or sibling. The route will go all the way through town, along Route 100, up Route 202, to the high school parking lot where staff and faculty will safely gather to cheer them on.
The parade will be escorted by members of the local fire department and police and state police.
Bayer also thanked the Town Board and the other organizers.
“They were really gung-ho about really wanting to do everything they could about helping celebrate our seniors,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to that as our kick-off event,” Bayer added.
Grads will be also be getting their caps and gowns.
Tentatively, depending on the delivery of those items, the district is looking to distribute them on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12.
Seniors have to make an appointment to come to the pick-up location to get their caps and gowns and yearbooks.
They will be able to drop off school tablets, textbooks, instruments, library books, band uniforms, and so on. They also can pay any fines they might owe.
Acknowledging that senior spring athletes have lost their final high school playing session and the traditional “Senior Nights,” where the district would have celebrated their last games, Bayer said Athletic Director Roman Catalino and their coaches will be coming around to individual student’s houses during the week of June 8.
Students will receive “some items” and have their pictures taken with their families.
“We really feel badly that all of your seasons came to an end so quickly,” Bayer told the teens via the district’s Facebook page.
For all the senior athletes, the district will hold a virtual sports award ceremony on Thursday, June 11.
It will either be recorded or live-streamed. The details are still being worked out, Bayer said.
Somers has been “working behind the scenes” with Bedford’s Fox Lane High School and Katonah-Lewisboro’s John Jay High School on plans for commencement.
It will be held on Tuesday, June 23 in the south parking lot of the Jefferson Valley Mall, drive-in movie theater-style with a combination of live speeches and pre-recorded videos projected onto two large LED screens like the ones used at concerts.
Students had told the district that no matter what it did for their commencement, they “wanted to be together as a class,” Bayer said.
“We really this is a way of keeping things as close to a regular ceremony as possible, bringing you all together with your families to be able to celebrate in a live ceremony.”
All three schools will have graduation at separate times. Somers’ slot starts at 5 p.m.
As June 23 nears, families will be mailed detailed programs containing important information such as reporting times, the number of cars permitted, traffic patterns that have to be observed, social distancing requirements and enforcement, ways to access the graduation broadcast on your car’s FM radio, and ways to view the recorded version of the ceremony the next day on the district’s Facebook page and website.
There are a couple of other special events planned for June, but those are being kept under wraps for now.
“We are committed as a school, as a community, as a group of parents to honor you and making your senior year the most memorable that it has ever been,” the principal said.
Bayer promised that more announcements would follow, but meanwhile, said the district hoped that students “are all safe and are doing well.”
“We miss you seniors; we hope to see you soon,” he added.
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