Graduation & Celebrating the Class of 2020

Graduation & Celebrating the Class of 2020
Posted on 05/31/2020

Hello families of the WHS Class of 2020!

This has certainly been a different time for our society, and most especially challenging for those who are in the process of major life events, such as the transition from high school to college, career, or military. I am pleased to be able to share with you today, our plans for the live conferring of diplomas on June 20.

We are very proud of the Class of 2020 and have planned events that are allowed under state and local regulations and ensure that diplomas are conferred by the regularly scheduled end of the school year (which would have been June 22, 2020).  We established a broad-based Graduation Committee who spent the last weeks discussing how we could maximize the ways that we honor the Class of 2020, and to what extent we could have a ceremony under the health and safety regulations.  The committee was made up of students, parents, teachers, guidance department members and the WHS administration.  We followed the guidance of the Commissioner of Education and the Governor of Massachusetts, as well as the Superintendent of the Watertown Public Schools. We checked in with town officials on the local regulations to ensure that we understand the local guidelines so that our plans would comply with all local regulations around gatherings in this unusual time.

We have two remaining important events for June, that I would like to announce so that you can put them in your calendar, and plan for them.  Additional details will follow as well.

June 13th – Rolling Rally for the Class of 2020

The details are still in the works on this, so more information will follow.  This will be a car rally for the Class of 2020, following a prescribed route through town, around the middle part of the day.  The student should NOT be the driver, as we want them to be able to wave out of the car window without having to be concerned about how to drive safely at the same time. The route will take them past neighborhoods, some of our schools, Victory Field and WHS.  Cars may be decorated, etc. We have to be careful that social distancing will be maintained on the sidewalks, in order to get approval for this, so we will keep our communications about it confined to the WHS staff and families. As I said, more details to follow soon!

June 20th – Graduation for the Class of 2020

With a plan for careful social distancing, we were able to garner approval for a diploma ceremony at Victory field that will take place on Saturday, June 20th (at WHS , in the event of inclement weather). Here is the general outline of events:

  • We will stage cars in groups of 20 (time slots given in advance)
  • Cars will be assigned a queueing spot in the same order as the diplomas
  • Cars will enter the Victory driveway from Orchard Street and exit onto Marion Road
  • Each car must have a driver that will stay with the car
  • Each student may have 4 family member guests in addition to the driver
  • We will play Pomp and Circumstance as performed and recorded by the WHS Band
  • Each student will enter the field and their Guidance Counselor will call their name. The guests may watch from the fence
  • Each student will process to the podium and receive their diploma from the Principal
  • After receiving their diploma, each student will walk to the photographer, and have a professional photo taken with their diploma
  • The student passes the awards table to pick up academic and department awards and returns to their car and exits the park

I know that this is not the ceremony that students were anticipating when they entered their senior year, but we are doing everything that is allowed within the regulations to make this a special time for this special class while keeping everyone healthy and safe.  The students are planning to have a class social as soon as the regulations around social gatherings soften. 

As you have heard and seen, the town is recognizing and celebrating with signage all over town.  There are signs in every graduate’s yard and sandwich board signs can be seen in common spaces around town. Watertown High School, families, and businesses have hung banners declaring their support for this class.  Victory Field sports a solo cup message on the Orchard Street fence. The Town Council has officially declared June 5, 2020 Watertown High School Class of 2020 Day, and the Council has prepared a proclamation of such for each student in the graduating class.

The Watertown High School PTSO has gone to great lengths to prepare special spirit bags for each graduate, that will be distributed along with caps and gowns.

We are pleased that we have been able to work together with the town to stay within the local and state guidelines, while still providing the opportunity for a public conferral of diplomas.  The entire diploma ceremony will be videotaped, and the link will be posted on our Class of 2020 website, along with a link to the virtual awards ceremony.  We appreciate your patience as we worked out the details.  More information will follow with the specifics of where to go and what you need to know on each of these days.

Here is a P.S. from the Class of 2022:  Senior Congrats Vid (1).mov


Shirley Lundberg

Principal - WHS