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A Letter to Senior Parents Regarding SGFHS Graduation

June 18, 2020

Dear Senior Class Parents and Guardians,
It has been a long and interesting road on the path to our 123rd Commencement. I want to take the time to thank all of you who have participated in virtual forums, our poll, and to those who have shared ideas and feedback since our building closed about what to do with graduation. This has been difficult, and I am grateful that we have a community that cares about our seniors having a memorable event. Our seniors have been clear that the most important aspect of graduation is being together as much as possible (to the extent that state guidelines allow) so we avoided plans for any type of fully virtual ceremony.

Below are the current graduation plans, which have incorporated feedback, our family poll, and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidelines. As you all know, it has not been easy to adjust plans every few days as things have changed, but the effort to support and celebrate our seniors is worth the work that is going into each step of this plan. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the students departing for bootcamp at the end of June weighed heavily on my mind during this process.

The results of our poll helped us shape our plans. 225 families responded to the poll and the results were as follows:

  • June Graduation at the Glen Drive-In, 57%
  • Delaying Graduation until July, 33%
  • No Preference, 4%
  • Undecided, 3%
  • Small Group/Virtual, 3%

Part 1 – Full Class Graduation Ceremony at the Glen Drive-In on Thursday, June 25th at 8:30PM

  • We will be holding a full commencement ceremony at the Glen Drive-In on June 25th, starting at 8:30PM. The event will start later to ensure we can see the screens at the drive-in.
    • Each student is allowed one car (no larger than a standard SUV/mini-van). Buses, limos or RVs are not allowed. Guests must be from the student’s immediate household. Arrangements will be made for split families.
  • A separate email with logistics was sent to families. This will include a waiver to complete to indicate acknowledgement and agreement to following social-distancing guidelines while at the drive-in. This is important for both the school and the Glen Drive-In, but most importantly to keep everyone healthy.
  • Arrival time will be broken down by letter of the alphabet and staggered to reduce congestion.
  • We will run a full ceremony, including many of the traditional elements of graduation (speeches, Star-Spangled Banner by Vocal Point, music performances, the Alma Mater, etc.).
  • All of the 232 graduates will have their names read, walk the stage and receive their diploma. They will also have a professional photograph taken after departing the stage.
  • Superintendent of Schools Kristine Orr will do an individual declaration for each student as they exit the stage, declaring them graduates of South Glens Falls HS.
  • This ceremony will be livestreamed so those who cannot attend can watch it.

Part 2 – POSSIBLE Smaller Group In-Person Recognition and Superintendent’s Declaration, Friday, June 26th (times T.B.D.)
On June 7 Governor Cuomo announced that small, in-person graduations with a maximum of 150 participants (including students, spectators and staff) are allowed. By June 22nd, if Governor Cuomo adjusts restrictions to allow us to hold smaller, in-person events, we will announce a plan for these. We need a minimum of a 300-person limit to make this happen. If the restrictions stay below a 300-person limit, we will not be adding additional small group, in-person celebrations. Please note:

  • The district will consider holding smaller, in-person ceremonies in addition to the drive-in event only if the total number of individuals permitted to attend is increased to 300 (or more).
  • If the district is able to hold these smaller, in-person events, students will be assigned to groups. During the event, students would have the opportunity to have their names read, walk across the stage, have the Declaration of Diplomas read and move their tassels as a small group.
  • I understand that in-person events are obviously the most desirable. However, by law, the district must follow state and local guidance pertaining to all public events.
  • I will inform families on June 22 whether or not the additional in-person events will be taking place.

Next Steps for June 25

  • In the next few days, I will be sharing a comprehensive RSVP questionnaire so we can plan for arrival time, split family provisions, and traffic flow at the Glen Drive-In. It is VERY IMPORTANT that when I send this out to parents and seniors that it is filled out accurately by deadline. This will generate our attendee list that security will have when allowing vehicles into commencement. If you don’t respond, you won’t be allowed into graduation.
  • More information regarding instructions for the evening and logistics will be forthcoming in the next few days.

As always, I appreciate your collaboration, support and understanding as we work to celebrate the South Glens Falls High School Class of 2020.

Pete Mody
SGFHS Principal

Category: SGFalls HS News