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Coronavirus Impact: High Schools Working On Alternative Graduation Ceremonies

BOSTON (CBS) - School districts in Massachusetts are trying to figure out how to handle graduation for high school seniors. "I have no question in my mind this one is going to be very memorable," said Jeremy Roche, principal of Fitchburg High school.

It's clear the traditional graduation is not a reality in the midst of a pandemic. Some seniors admit to a feeling of being cheated. "A big part of the experience is having this great moment when you're with all the teachers and your friends," said Boston Latin School senior Christopher Impellizeri.

Which is why school leaders across the state are trying to get creative. Henry Turner, the principal of Newton North High School says seniors will be responding to a survey and provide their input. A virtual graduation is one of the options. "I think it's important to have some sort of closure to the end of the year even from a distance to recognize the great work the senior class has done," said Turner.

Boston Latin School may delay graduation until the end of the summer before students head off to college. Many want that "in person" experience. "Because then you're physically there to walk the stage than virtually do it," said Boston Latin School senior Mae Kelly.

Boston Latin School headmaster Rachel Skerritt said there's consensus among students that they don't want a virtual graduation. "There's no question we want to look the class of 2020 in the eye, give them hugs and say congratulations even if it's not at the same time we anticipated," said Skerritt.

Right now there's no model for school districts to follow in this uncharted territory. Many say it's early in the planning stages to figure out how to replace the senior rite of passage, and they have been consulting each other.

"There's something to be said to have the students and their families get that diploma in hand," said Roche.

Somehow they will even if it's not the way they had dreamed about.


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