To our BHS students, families, and community:
We would like to start with a “thank you” - thank you for taking the time over the past few weeks to share your ideas, excitement, questions, and concerns about the 2020 Belmont High School Graduation. The feedback you shared was thoughtful and creative - as educators, we recognize how fortunate we are to work in a district that has such a resourceful and innovative community. You are generous in time and spirit.
We appreciate how invested you are in making this ceremony significant and meaningful for our students. We, too, are dedicated to making this rite of passage special for our seniors who have worked so hard and accomplished so much in the wake of suffering and turmoil (both this year and last). We are confident that we - the Belmont Public Schools and the Belmont community - are all leading with our hearts at this time and that we are trying to keep our beloved students’ best interests at the center of every decision we make.
On Monday May 4, the Graduation Guidance Taskforce (Police, Fire, the Department of Public Works, School Facilities, the Health Department, the Superintendent, Central Office, and BHS Administration) met to discuss various options for this year’s ceremony. There was significant discussion about all options that had been brought forward. The option of a student-only ceremony on Harris Field was discussed. After much thought we came to the conclusion that we could not guarantee student safety before, during and after the event. Additionally we felt as a Town we could not properly supervise the perimeter of the field which would be needed for the health of those who came by to observe; despite requests not to. We then discussed the issue of moving the date - it was our concern that this option may represent a multiplier effect for students as there may be cause to move the date again resulting in an online event later in the summer.
Based on this meeting, the superintendent and I will be presenting the following decision to the school committee at their May 12 meeting:
- Seniors will pick up caps, gowns, and diplomas at Belmont High School on their last day of class, May 22, 2020 (more information to follow).
- The 2020 BHS Graduation will be held on June 7, 2020 (as previously scheduled to preserve the first Sunday in June tradition)
- The 2020 BHS Graduation will take on a virtual/remote format (more information to follow)
We recognize that this news will be disappointing to some members of the Belmont community (especially our seniors). Please trust that this decision was not taken lightly, nor was it born out of a desire to select the “easier” option. The guidance from the town will also serve to cancel Prom, the All-Night Party, and Senior Week events. We wish that the circumstances were different so that we could hold senior events that are more in line with what we have been able to offer in the past, prior to the pandemic. Please trust that we will pour our whole selves into making the next month (in particular) memorable, special, and exciting for our graduates. They deserve nothing less.
On that note, we have some exciting plans in the works that we would like to share.
- The Junior class made a generous donation that will allow all seniors to have a “2020 senior lives here” yard sign! Junior students (accompanied by their parents) will be delivering these signs in masks and gloves over the next few weeks.
- Ms. Ruane is also in the process of collecting photographs of seniors in their college gear or “post-grad” gear - please email your photo to email@example.com - a video compilation to follow!
- On May 22nd, seniors will be invited to return to Belmont High School in vehicles in order to pick up their cap, gown, diploma, and “SWAG” bag! We are also exploring the possibility of having a college DJ and socially-distanced educators there to pump up the class of 2020!
- We are also exploring possibilities around securing pre-recorded footage of students in their caps and gowns prior to the June 7th online graduation. We will share details about the sequence and timing of these events early next week - please know that we will continue to seek the guidance of our town department leaders to ensure that all events/activities are coordinated in a safe and operationally effective manner.
Now, we end with an ask. We would be foolish not to tap into the resource that is this amazing community. If you have ideas for additional events, activities, or surprises for our senior class, please reach out to us. While we are limited as to what we can offer in-person, we are confident that there are ideas out there that can bring us together in spirit.
Respectfully, Isaac Taylor, Principal