Hampshire Regional grads’ celebration called off

  • Hampshire Regional High School.

Staff Writer
Published: 8/8/2020 12:16:09 PM

WESTHAMPTON — An achievement celebration for Hampshire Regional High School’s Class of 2020 has been canceled due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The risk kind of outweighed the benefit,” said Hampshire Regional High Principal Kristen Smidy.

The celebration was supposed to take place this Saturday. It would have been a follow-up to the socially distant graduation celebration that took place in May, where students received their diplomas one by one in individual ceremonies that stretched over four days, and would have featured a celebration outdoors on the school’s grounds with all graduates invited to be present, albeit socially distanced.

Smidy announced the cancellation in a letter sent out Monday.

“The MA Department of Public Health informed local Boards of Health that they are seeing increased infection numbers across the state tied to graduation events,” the letter reads. “These trends of increased infections combined with a planned gathering of over 400+ individuals, even with social distancing, is deemed to be a risk that is too high to take, even to celebrate our amazing and most deserving class of 2020.”

A drive-thru from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will still be held Saturday, where students will be able to collect their school records and confetti cannons. The cannons were supposed to have been fired at the end of the graduation ceremony.

Smidy said she knows some people will be upset by the decision to cancel the celebration, and that the school tried to make this year special for graduates.

Parent Traci Lamica praised the graduation ceremony the school put on in May, which was turned into graduation video that cut together all of the students’ individual walks.

“Hampshire did such a great job with their graduation,” she said.

She also noted that her graduate son, Matthew Quenneville, told her that he didn’t think he would have gone if Saturday’s celebration had been held.

“We already got our graduation,” Quenneville said, although he did note the cancellation was disappointing. “It’s not too big of a deal for us.”

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