GHS Update: Class of 2020 Commencement Events

A message from GHS Principal Michael Piscitelli:

Dear Members and Parents/Guardians of the Class of 2020,

Over the past several weeks, Dr. Wiles and I have been closely monitoring the situation with the pandemic and the social distancing guidelines. In planning for our commencement ceremony, we have tried to keep many options available such as the Jericho Drive-In, the SEFCU Arena, and the TU Center. As of this week, group sizes are still limited to groups of ten or fewer and it is unclear when large groups are going to be able to assemble. The SEFCU Arena has communicated that they do not believe they can hold a commencement ceremony in late June and a ceremony at the TU Center is still questionable because of the size of our graduating class and rules about large group gatherings.

This week, Dr. Wiles and I needed to make a commitment to the plan of holding our commencement ceremony at the Jericho Drive-In. First, the venue required an answer on the use of their site and second, we came to the conclusion that having a definitive commencement ceremony was a better option than risking the cancelation of an event in August and having no ceremony at all.

We share your disappointment and frustration that we are unable to hold a traditional event at SEFCU Arena, but we are excited about the events that we have planned. Over the next few weeks, we will be working hard to develop a video program that will bring us together to celebrate our graduates’ amazing accomplishments, while also maintaining the safety and well-being of everyone within our school community. The presentation will be very similar to our normal commencement ceremony but will not include a traditional stage walk. Students’ names will be announced and we will project their yearbook photo as part of the graduate roll call. We are going to allow the graduates to sit in front of their vehicles with a mask on. All family members will have to stay in their cars.

Our video ceremony will be shown at the Jericho Drive-in on Saturday, June 20. We expect gates to open at approximately 8 p.m., with the viewing set to begin at approximately 9 p.m. Due to limited space, we will only be able to host one vehicle per graduate. For planning purposes, students or families in need of consideration for a second vehicle should contact Ms. Laura Lawton at lawtonl@guilderlandschools.net no later than Friday, June 5.

Because we are unable to do a traditional stage walk at the Jericho Drive-In, we are planning to do a Drive Through stage walk at Guilderland High School on June 27. A stage will be set up under the vestibule below the Guilderland High School Sign. One at a time, graduates and their families will depart their vehicles, the graduate will walk the stage and receive his/her diploma. Professional photographs will be taken of the graduate.

Caps and Gowns will be distributed on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16. We will also collect Senior Chromebooks at that time. In the days and weeks to come, students and families should expect email communication with further details on the upcoming events.

We are in unprecedented times and these past few months have presented us all with unique challenges. I am proud of the amazing show of resilience from the Class of 2020. In their honor, it is our commitment to provide them with a meaningful and memorable commencement.

Sincerely,

Michael Piscitelli
GHS Principal

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