Holyoke High School to hold live graduation ceremony Aug. 2

  • Holyoke High School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/23/2020 10:54:29 AM

HOLYOKE — Holyoke High School’s graduation plans are finally official.

In a letter to families Wednesday, receiver-superintendent Alberto Vázquez Matos, high school principal Stephen Mahoney and Mayor Alex Morse confirmed that a live graduation ceremony for the entire class of 2020 will take place Sunday, Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. at the Roberts’ Field Sports Complex.

“Only seniors (no guests) are allowed on the field, in order to keep the total number of people to a minimum, per Board of Health guidelines,” the letter reads.

The messages goes on to say that the district will broadcast the ceremony live and will attempt to place large screens in the Beech Street and Resnic Boulevard parking lots for families to watch from their cars. There will also be a photographer and videographer present to capture the event for students and families, the letter said.

The decision comes after students and families voiced frustration earlier this week over an announcement that the graduation ceremony would be a drive-through celebration in cars. That announcement was different than what school leaders had promised students, and upset many in the community.

In response to the uproar, Vázquez Matos said at Monday’s School Committee meeting that he intended to present families with two options for a graduation. But after conferring with city officials, the district has decided on holding the ceremony at the high school’s North Campus, with only students on the field.

“We believe this solution is the best balance of honoring community tradition and following the health guidelines that contribute to keeping our community, especially those who are most vulnerable, safe,” the letter said. “We are proud and grateful to be the leaders of a school, a district, and a city, where our graduates and families are prepared to advocate for themselves and their community.”

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.
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