Wilton graduation plans range from a parade to a drive-in
WILTON — They’re going to have very different looks to them this year, but staff and school principals intend to make each graduation ceremony memorable and special this June.
The Board of Education heard an update Thursday night, May 7, on plans being created and considered for closure, including several different ideas being generated at Wilton High School.
“We have an excellent graduation committee,” principal Robert O’Donnell said, which includes parent, student and staff representatives.
“We’re really working assertively to be sure we can design something fitting,” he said, noting they understand it will look different, but can still reflect the spirit of the ceremony.
One idea involves an automobile parade, wherein the 300 members of the 2020 graduating class can drive with their families, possibly passing all the schools in town before ending up at the high school.
“We could organize some really, really cool ceremony in front of the high school,” O’Donnell said, possibly including photos taken there and accompanying music.
“Students will be in their own cars with their families,” he said, calling it a safe approach that health officials would approve.
One student complaint, however, is that it denies an opportunity for classmates to be with one another in a group setting, so another idea under consideration centers on families in automobiles taking part in a drive-in style ceremony.
Giant screens would project a feed from a stage, where speeches could be made, perhaps with an organized way for students to receive their diplomas at a distance.
O’Donnell said, however, finding a large enough space to accommodate the class is a challenge, though it may be possible to split the ceremony into two separate ones.
Finally, he said, some students are holding on to the hope of postponing the ceremony entirely until the summer, with the hope there may be a viable window of safety to make something happen in a group setting.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.
The committee will meet again on Thursday to delve further into the question. Meanwhile, plans are also being constructed for virtual end-of-year award ceremonies, as well as some version of the senior prom.
Middlebrook School, meanwhile, is likewise contemplating how it will execute its moving-up ceremony.
“We’ve had quite a bit of conversation,” principal Lauren Feltz said, “particularly with eighth-grade team leaders, about parts of the tradition that we can maintain.”
The event will likely center around a video that might include student and staff speeches, as well as electronic certificates and featured quotes from the staff about each student.
“It’s definitely a work in progress,” Feltz said.
“There are definitely some suggestions being sort of proffered from our parent community and we welcome those,” she said.
“I think the video’s a great idea,” board member Gretchen Jeanes said. “I think that’ll be great for the kids.”
Over at Cider Mill School, principal Jennifer Falcone said a caravan of some sort, as well as a slideshow, are in the planning phases.
“Every classroom will be having some type of closing (and) our PTA will be distributing our yearbooks,” she said, noting a virtual field day is being planned as well.
“We’re also going to do a version of the graduation picnic,” Miller-Driscoll School principal Kathryn Coon said, on June 5.
Other activities look to include online concerts, art shows, and virtual field trips.
“Hopefully the next five weeks will be packed with fun,” she said.
Chair Deborah Low commended the administrators.
“I’m just so impressed with how all of you are just diving right in and trying to be as creative as possible,” she said.