SALISBURY — Plans are coming together for a seaside Triton Regional High School graduation.
The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 was scheduled to take place on the school’s Byfield campus June 6. But, just as it did with the school year, the COVID-19 virus shut those plans down.
Principal Patrick Kelley said his administration has been working with the officers and advisers of the graduating class to come up with a unique way to celebrate the students in the midst of a global pandemic.
Graduation will be postponed until June 13 and it is expected to be held, drive-in style, in the Hunt Memorial Beach parking lot in Salisbury, he said.
“We hope to do a parade for everyone coming into the graduation, which will serve as their procession,” Kelley said. “Then, we will have everyone park in the lot down at the beach. We will set up a stage and are trying to do as much of the traditional features of our graduation as possible. But, with everyone confined to their cars.”
Seniors have been pushing for a public ceremony as opposed to a virtual graduation, according to Kelley.
“Some national service academies have held virtual graduations, but that really isn’t a good option for us,” Kelley said. “School graduation is about the families as well. They have gone through their child’s entire schooling to get them to that point. While this is very much about the students, it is also about everything their family has done to support them.”
The principal said he is still working with the regional school district and the town to see if the students will be able to walk across a stage and pick up their diplomas, which he noted is a priority for almost everyone.
“We want to do this in a safe and structured way so that each of them will get to walk across the stage for graduation,” Kelley said. “The feedback we have gotten really indicated that the most important thing for people is to see their kid walk across the stage. We are trying to preserve that experience, if at all possible.”
In an email, Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington said he and selectmen think the drive-in graduation is “a great idea” but they have yet to work out the details.
“In my opinion, this is the most important thing that we can do,” Kelley said. “We want to give them the opportunity to walk across the stage during a communal event they are experiencing together. We also think it is incredibly important that families be involved.”
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.