Whittier Tech Plans Remote Graduation; ‘No Way Lessens Our Pride in the Senior Class’

From left, Patricia Lowell, pupil personnel services director; Superintendent Maureen A. Lynch; and Kara Kosmes, business manager, during an earlier appearance before the Haverhill Education Coalition. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A “Graduation Box,” video presentations and a promised future gathering is the best Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School can offer the Class of 2020 in light of the current pandemic.

Whittier Tech Superintendent Maureen A. Lynch made it official yesterday while acknowledging, in her words, the class is “graduating under circumstances no other class has had to endure.” She said seniors will receive a “Graduation Box” with their yearbook, cap and gown and other graduation documents. Those boxes will be available at designated times to promote social distancing.

“We are all deeply saddened that we cannot celebrate this time in person together. However, the distance among us at this time in no way lessens our pride in the senior class, or the achievements of each and every one of them,” Lynch said in a statement.

Pointing to the latest extension to the stay-at-home advisory by Gov. Charlie Baker, she said, “we cannot in good conscience plan to hold an in-person graduation ceremony, or any in-person senior events this spring or summer…The health and well-being of our Whittier Tech community is our priority, and we will not risk exposing students, their families, faculty or staff to this virus.”

Lynch called this year’s seniors “smart, resilient, talented young people…who deserve to be celebrated.” Plans now call for a senior awards ceremony video Wednesday, May 20, at 6 p.m. , when departmental awards will be distributed, and a graduation ceremony video with students and their families Thursday, May 28, at 6 p.m. Details about where the videos will be posted will be announced.

More personal events will come, Lynch said, noting plans for a social for students, faculty and staff in the fall “pending the de-escalation of current social distancing guidelines” and an in-person graduation ceremony next year.

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