Update: EHS graduation plans to be changed

Update 5/21/20: Certain aspects of this plan are likely to change, Superintendent Dan Higgins said Thursday morning. Specifically, school officials, with input from the Ellsworth Police Department, are considering changes to the date and time of the processional. The current plan for a car processional at 4 p.m. on a Friday “is not an option,” Higgins said. Officials have also determined that current plans for a walk-up ceremony following the procession are not consistent with graduation guidelines the Department of Education released May 6. Higgins said Principal Dan Clifford will be meeting with parents as officials create a new plan. That new plan will be released as soon as possible, Higgins said. “We’re all committed to providing a ceremony for students that recognizes their accomplishments in a meaningful way despite the challenges,” he said.

ELLSWORTH — The coronavirus pandemic has forced all kinds of celebrations to be postponed or altered, from funerals to weddings and now, graduation ceremonies. But local officials, working with students, parents, staff, teachers, administrators and community members, have found a way to celebrate graduating seniors, albeit a bit differently than in years past.

There are two dates set for the Ellsworth High School ceremony, June 12, when EHS will hold a virtual graduation ceremony, and Aug. 7, when administrators hope to hold a more traditional one, depending on what state guidance looks like.

Preparations will begin May 26, when students will be allotted a 15-minute period in which they come to the high school with cap and gown and are filmed walking across the stage to receive their diplomas. Filming will take place over the course of five days, from 9 a.m. to roughly 4 p.m. each day. Family members (wearing masks and observing physical distancing guidelines) are invited to attend and take pictures and videos.

On June 2, graduation speakers will be filmed presenting their speeches. On June 10, the school will hold a virtual class night, streamed live on the high school’s Facebook page, at which point scholarships will be announced.

The school will hold an amended graduation ceremony on June 12 (rain date June 13), when seniors and families will meet in their cars at Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School at 3:30 p.m.

At 4 p.m., graduates and families will drive their cars (one car per family) from Knowlton Park to State Street, down Main Street to Oak Street and back to Ellsworth High School.

There will be a diploma walk immediately following the processional, at which point students will be able to walk and receive their diploma while following guidelines set out by the state. The ceremony will be posted on the Ellsworth High School Facebook page and broadcast on local media outlets.

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