Virtual graduation, postponed prom for Dartmouth High seniors

May 15, 2020

Dartmouth High School’s class of 2020 will be graduating in a remote ceremony that will be filmed over the course of a week and then compiled into video for broadcast on June 7  what would have been graduation day.

The Senior Prom has also been postponed until August 5, although if social distancing guidelines remain in place, it will be rescheduled for December — and if necessary, may even take place as a one-year reunion event

DHS Principal Ross Thibault made the announcements in a newsletter on May 14.

He said that after several weeks of deliberations and consultation “with a variety of stakeholders,” the high school’s leadership team made the decision to honor the senior class with a virtual ceremony in order to comply with public health guidelines.

Commencement speakers will pre-record speeches, and student speakers will be scheduled to deliver their remarks in the school auditorium with only immediate family members present for each speech. Student speakers will be awarded their diploma after their speech.

The microphone and podium will be sanitized in between each speaker.

Other members of the Class of 2020 will be provided a specific time to be awarded their diploma in the high school auditorium, with admission limited to immediate family members of the student only. 

In order to enter the building, students and family members will be required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. Those planning to attend are asked to bring their own masks with them.

All aspects of the traditional graduation ceremony will be filmed and edited together into a commencement video that will be broadcast by DCTV and the DHS TV Media Program on Sunday, June 7 at 1 p.m.

There will also be a senior parade from the high school to the middle school tentatively scheduled for the morning of June 7.

“While we understand how disappointed seniors and families are, we believe we can still provide a positive and memorable experience,” stated Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bonny Gifford.

“The Class of 2020 has defined itself as a class with perseverance and positivity in the face of adversity and is a class we look forward to celebrating and honoring even if it is in a manner that isn't how we've always done it in the past,” noted Principal Thibault in the announcement.

He added that although there is likely to be “some level of disappointment” with the format, this year’s graduating class will “remembered forever” as the first to hold a virtual ceremony and a parade. “Together we can and we will celebrate the Class of 2020 while doing our very best to ensure all members of the DHS Community remain healthy and well,” he stated.

The end-of-year events will also include a virtual induction ceremony for the National Honor Society Class of 2020 filmed by the high school’s TV media program and broadcast on May 19, as well as a Scholarship and Awards ceremony that will be broadcast on June 4.

Yearbooks, caps and gowns, and customized lawn signs will be available for grab-and-go pickup.

Caps and gowns will be distributed to the senior class on Wednesday, May 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. (rain date May 21.) Students are advised to pull into the bus lane or the student drop-off lane and remain in their cars.

Customized lawn signs will be available the week of May 25, while yearbooks are expected to be shipped to the school the week of June 5.

A free digital yearbook signing platform will be made available to students later this week to allow them to “sign” each other’s yearbook safely. Students will be able to create a page for their friends to sign, which can be printed for inclusion with their yearbook.

Student check-out day is on June 2. Members of the Class of 2020 will be given a scheduled time to report to DHS for academic and medical records and to turn in any school-issued equipment, including uniforms, textbooks, and chromebooks, as well as to take care of any outstanding debt.