ELLSWORTH — Ellsworth High School Principal Dan Clifford on Monday announced new graduation plans for the Class of 2020 after safety and logistical concerns were raised about some aspects of earlier plans.
The new plan “has been developed with the input of students, parents, teachers, staff, administration and community members,” according to a statement provided by Clifford. “The plan has been carefully developed to adhere to the state of Maine graduation guidelines and interests of the Ellsworth school community. I want to thank all the parties involved for the time and energy they have put into developing this plan. The sole purpose has always been to give our students the very best graduation experience during this difficult time.”
An in-person graduation exercise will take place at Ellsworth High School at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 12 (rain date June 13). That event will not be open to the public. There will be a virtual graduation ceremony pre-recorded that will be posted on the EHS Facebook page at 8:30 p.m.
School officials had originally planned a vehicle processional prior to the ceremony, but the date for the processional has been changed to Wednesday, June 10, at 6 p.m. Graduates and families should arrive at the Maine Coast Mall parking lot by 5:30 p.m. June 10. The route will include High Street, Main Street and then State Street to EHS. The processional will continue through the bus loop at EHS, where each graduate will be given a large pizza to take home to enjoy while watching virtual Class Night festivities. Class Night will be streamed on the EHS Facebook page. Scholarship awards will be announced.
The original plan to hold the processional at 4 p.m. on a Friday “is not an option,” Superintendent Dan Higgins said last week.
Higgins said that subsequent to the release of the original graduation plans, he, Clifford and Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier met to discuss the plans. Traffic going into the weekend is too busy to safely have a processional on the Friday of graduation, Higgins said.
EHS students will still have their chance to walk the stage with loved ones watching, albeit without the crowds of years past.
Starting this week and continuing to June 1, students will be scheduled a 15-minute time period to come to EHS with cap and gown to be filmed walking across the stage to receive their diplomas. A photographer will take individual and family pictures and families are invited to attend to take their own photographs and video. Everyone is required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing from non-household members.
On June 2, graduation speakers will be scheduled to go to EHS to present speeches that will be filmed for the June 12 virtual ceremony.
A Class of 2020 celebration is planned for Aug. 7 at Ellsworth High School. Details of the event will be decided at a later date.