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Shrewsbury High School Class of 2020 Senior Recognition Plan

 

Shrewsbury High School Class of 2020 Senior Recognition Plan - Letter to Members of the Class of 2020

Shrewsbury High School Class of 2020 Senior Recognition Event Schedule

 

Shrewsbury High School Class of 2020 Senior Recognition Plan - Letter to Members of the Class of 2020

Dear Members of the Class of 2020,

We are pleased to provide you with this plan to recognize and honor you, our graduating seniors.  The Class of 2020 has experienced a senior spring like no other in the history of Shrewsbury High School, and we understand how disappointing it is that the traditional ways of celebrating the rite of passage of graduating from high school have been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.  We truly wish that things were different; however, just as your class motto, “refuse to lose,” signifies your spirit of perseverance, together the SHS community has determined ways in which to celebrate you while respecting the health and safety of you and your classmates, your families, our staff, and our community.

We appreciate all of the suggestions that you and your parents submitted, which helped greatly in shaping this plan.  We also appreciate the active input of your class officers, your class advisors, and the SHS leadership team, as well as the feedback we received from public health and safety officials.  While this plan may not satisfy all, we believe it represents the best of what is possible under the circumstances we face.

This plan is based on “and” instead of “or,” where some parts occur sooner and others later, and where some parts will be in-person and others will be remote.  Unfortunately, there are no planned alternatives for the Senior Prom due to public health restrictions.  We will keep thinking about possibilities for alternatives to the Senior Picnic later in the summer, but it currently seems unlikely that something approximating that event will be possible.  However, we believe you will be pleased that this plan does include the following:

  • Both a pre-recorded video broadcast Graduation ceremony (sooner) and an in-person Graduation ceremony (later)
  • In-person diploma ceremonies for individual graduates and their families (sooner)
  • A pre-recorded video broadcast Commemoration ceremony (sooner)
  • A farewell car parade through the SHS campus (sooner)
  • A Senior-Faculty gathering event (later)

Please read on for more information about our plan to recognize you, our senior class.  While these events are certainly very different than what any of us expected just a few months ago, we are confident that they will achieve the goal we have every year, which is that you feel honored, respected, and proud as you graduate from Shrewsbury High School.

 

Respectfully,

Todd Bazydlo                               Joe Sawyer

Principal                                       Superintendent

Shrewsbury High School             Shrewsbury Public Schools




 

Introduction

The restrictions implemented by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to combat the coronavirus pandemic included the cancellation of the remainder of the school year and will not allow for the typical events that are held to honor the graduating senior class to go on as planned.  This document outlines the plan for recognizing the Shrewsbury High School Class of 2020 in ways that honor both individual students and the class as a whole, while working within the current public health guidelines in order to protect students, their families, SHS staff, and the broader community from the impact of COVID-19.  

This plan was developed based on input from senior students (especially the class officers) and their families, faculty class advisors, and the SHS administration. It reflects the most current guidance of our local public health department and orders issued by Governor Baker under the current state of emergency that exists in Massachusetts, how this guidance applies in the short term, and how it is anticipated to apply later this summer.

 

Guiding Principles

This plan is based upon the following guiding principles:

1) The health of our students, families, staff, and the broader community is paramount.  Recognition of the senior class must be done in a responsible manner that acknowledges a) the reality that COVID-19 is a deadly disease; b) that some students, family members, and staff are at risk for harm due to factors such as preexisting health conditions; and c) that activities intended to celebrate the important life milestone of graduating from high school must not create enhanced risk of any family experiencing the tragedy of the death of a loved one.  

2) The students of the Class of 2020 have earned the right to be recognized for successfully completing their education in the Shrewsbury Public Schools.  Further, it is important to recognize that our students very much desire to celebrate this important time in their lives with their classmates, their families, and their educators.  Given that the traditional ways of doing this are not possible under the circumstances of the pandemic, alternatives should attempt to promote feelings of pride and connectedness and provide opportunities to preserve memories of this important milestone. 

3) A core value of SHS is that events honoring the senior class should be equitable for all members of the class to the greatest extent possible.    

4) Given that the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic is constantly evolving, plans to recognize the Class of 2020 should consider options for both the short-term (late May and early June) and long-term (mid-summer and fall), with the understanding that possibilities for the long-term will be dependent on what new, remaining, or reimplemented public health restrictions are in place  when that time comes. 

5) Alternative ways of celebrating our seniors must be achievable with the resource capacity available and must be practicable to execute for a graduating class of 500+ students.  

 

Plan Features

I. Combination of “sooner” and “later” features: This plan for honoring the Class of 2020 includes a combination of features, some that can be accomplished in the shorter term in order to provide recognition during late May and early June, at approximately the same time events would have occurred under normal circumstances.  Not only does this provide recognition in a timely way when students have just completed their studies, but it is also very important for those members of the class who will be unavailable later, such as those students who are proudly joining the United States military. The plan also includes features that we hope will be possible if and when restrictions on in-person events are modified later in the summer.  The plan uses a “this AND that” approach, rather than “this OR that”, with the understanding that some later events may not be possible depending on how the pandemic evolves. 

II. Combination of “in-person” and “remote” features:  This plan recognizes that there are strong feelings among students and families who wish to have opportunities for in-person experiences where possible, and so it provides in-person experiences in both the sooner and later phases (with later phase events contingent upon what will be allowable under public health requirements at that time).  This plan also includes remote features that will commemorate the class’s experiences and ensure that all students will have the opportunity to be recognized in a manner that can be viewed and shared with family and friends. 

 

Events

The following events to honor the Class of 2020 are listed below in chronological order:

Date & Time

Wednesday, May 20  -  7:00pm

Performing Arts Awards Night

Awards in the performing arts will be presented through a tribute recorded by Performing Arts Department faculty and administrators which will be aired on SELCO Channels 29 & 329 and streamed live on the Shrewsbury Media Connection website, and it will be archived online for later viewing and sharing with friends and relatives as well.

Student award recipients will receive the actual awards when they pick up their caps and gowns.

 

Thursday, May 21 -  7:00pm

SHS Scholarships & Awards Night

Scholarships and awards for academics, athletics, citizenship, and leadership will be presented through a tribute recorded by School Counseling Department faculty and administrators which will be aired on SELCO Channels 29 & 329 and streamed live on the Shrewsbury Media Connection website, and it will be archived online for later viewing and sharing with friends and relatives as well.

Student award recipients will receive the actual awards when they pick up their caps and gowns.

 

Friday, May 29,    5:00pm-7:00pm

“Friday Night Flyover”

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?  Why yes it is!  Be on the lookout for an airplane pulling a sky banner congratulating the Class of 2020.  The sky banner will be circling above Shrewsbury between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

This tribute paid for by an anonymous Class of 2020 family


 

Tuesday, June 2    -  7:00pm

Commemoration Video Broadcast

This year’s Commemoration ceremony will be a video production produced by Shrewsbury Media Connection and our SHS TV studio.  Members of the Class of 2020 and their families will hear their class officers reflect upon the Class of 2020’s time at SHS.  The program also includes: a special faculty guest speaker (selected by the class officers), remarks from grade administrator Mrs. Maureen Monopoli, a reading of the Class History written by the Class Officers, and the unveiling of the Senior Class Video.  The video production will be aired on SELCO Channels 29 & 329 and streamed live on the Shrewsbury Media Connection website, and it will be archived online for later viewing and sharing with friends and relatives as well.

 

Wednesday, June 3,   5:00pm-6:00pm

Rain date: TBD

Depending on the weather forecast that week, this event may be moved to a date prior to or after the planned date.

“The Last Ride”

Seniors and their families are encouraged to decorate their cars to show their Colonial Spirit and take one last ride as students through the SHS campus to celebrate the end of their high school years.  We have invited our SHS staff to campus to applaud and wave goodbye to our seniors and their families as they parade through campus.

More details will be provided in advance of the event to ensure proper traffic flow and safety.  

We ask for seniors to be passengers with a family member driving, so that seniors can focus on waving goodbye, taking photos and video, etc.). 

 

Thursday, June 4  -  7:00pm

Graduation Part I (Video Broadcast): Speeches & Student Recognition

This special television production will include remarks from students, including the Class of 2020 officers, valedictorian, and salutatorian; Vice Chair of the School Committee (and Class of 2020 parent), Jon Wensky; and Dr. Sawyer.  Mr. Bazydlo will certify the class, and each graduate will be recognized by name with a photograph.  The video production will be aired on SELCO Channels 29 & 329 and streamed live on the Shrewsbury Media Connection website, and it will be archived online for later viewing and sharing with friends and relatives as well.

 

Monday, June 8 through Friday, June 12

Scheduled time for each family by appointment

In-Person Awarding of Individual Diplomas by Family

Students and families envision the moment when the graduate receives their diploma, and this is an experience we want to provide to each SHS graduate. This year, families will not only watch, but become part of this special moment, as each graduate and their family will have the opportunity to come to SHS to take part in the awarding of the graduate’s diploma.  

Each individual ceremony will take place at a pre-scheduled time in front of a decorated backdrop set up under a tent in front of the SHS main entrance.  At their appointed time, graduates will have their diploma conferred by a family member or members.  Families will have a few minutes to take photos (compared to the few moments from afar during a typical graduation). Additionally, a professional photographer will be on hand to capture both an individual portrait of the graduate with their diploma as well as a family graduation portrait, both of which will be provided at no charge.  

This ceremony will be limited to the graduate and their family only (along with SHS administrators and the photographer).  More details will be provided regarding scheduling, as well as a strict protocol for participation in this event to ensure compliance with public health requirements of family group size and social/physical distancing.  

Special note: Given the circumstances this year, seniors are welcome to decorate the mortarboard on their graduation cap and to wear as many honor cords as they wish over their gown.  Guidelines will be provided to seniors regarding this.


 

Saturday, July 25  -  10:00am

Rain date: Sunday, July 26

Important: Depending on how Massachusetts’ phased opening public health requirements evolve, this event may be moved one week later to Saturday, August 1 with a rain date of Sunday, August 2

Graduation Part II (In-Person): “The Class of 2020 Rise Up Celebration”

With the hope that public health requirements at the time will allow it, the Class of 2020 will gather at SHS for an in-person, outdoor graduation ceremony to be held on the David J. Adams Memorial Field at Central One Federal Credit Union Stadium.  Details of this event will be developed to match what is possible under the public health orders in effect at that time.  As several formal speeches will have already been part of the graduation video broadcast in early June, this in-person “part two” of our graduation ceremony will focus on celebrating our Class of 2020 both collectively and individually in a manner befitting the occasion.  We expect the ceremony will include the traditional graduates’ march, some brief messages to mark the occasion, the announcement of each individual graduate, and the graduates’ turning of their tassels. 

We expect students will gather in the SHS field house at 9:00am to organize and then process into the stadium for the ceremony that will begin at 10:00am.  Seating and other elements of the program will depend on the social/physical distancing requirements required at that time.  We hope to accommodate some number of members of graduates’ families as guests at the ceremony; again, this will be dependent on the public health requirements at the time.  We intend to have the ceremony broadcast and recorded as well.

It is important to note that this event may only take place if public health requirements at that time allow it.

 

November 27, 2020,      6:00pm – 9:00pm

Class of 2020 Senior-Faculty Gathering

With the hope that public health requirements at the time will allow it, the Class of 2020 will have the opportunity to return to campus over Thanksgiving break and celebrate with the SHS staff.  The Senior-Faculty Dinner is regularly cited by graduates as their favorite part of graduation week, and it is a time when yearbook signings traditionally occur (the 2020 yearbook is currently delayed due to slowed production because of the publisher’s limited staffing requirements during the pandemic).  The details of this event will be developed depending on what is allowable by that time, including whether and how food may be served, etc. 

It is important to note that this event may only take place if public health requirements at that time allow it.


 

We believe this plan will provide multiple ways to honor and recognize the SHS Class of 2020 while respecting the public health requirements that are designed to keep families and our community safe.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support as we move forward.

 

Respectfully,

Todd Bazydlo                               Joe Sawyer

Principal                                       Superintendent

Shrewsbury High School              Shrewsbury Public Schools