Northampton to Hold Series of Small, ‘Personalized’ Graduations

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By Stefanie Jackson – Northampton High School Principal Mike Myers updated Northampton school board members May 13 on what graduation will look like in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down but caution is still being taken to limit the size and scope of public gatherings.

A survey was given to Northampton seniors, with two choices for graduation: a ceremony held outdoors on the athletic field, with each student receiving two guest tickets; or four abbreviated ceremonies held indoors, with each student receiving eight guest tickets.

“Clearly, the eight tickets really was the difference,” Myers said, since 61% of students chose the second option.

Northampton High School administrators discovered one of the school’s regional partners was offering seniors four tickets each to an outdoor graduation, and Northampton seniors in the hybrid learning program were asked if they would change their survey answers if they could have four tickets each for an outdoor graduation.

Only three of about 100 seniors changed their minds, with the indoor option keeping a majority of the votes, or 58%.

All the seniors won’t graduate together, but they will have the experience of marching into the gym to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” and walking across the stage to receive their diplomas, Myers said.

Each of the four indoor graduation ceremonies will be “personalized,” he added. Senior awards will be given out at each ceremony, and one of the four highest ranking graduates will be at each ceremony and give a speech.

“We want to do all we can. These last two classes have really paid a price, due to COVID,” Myers said.

Superintendent Eddie Lawrence asked if the ceremonies would be broadcast live. Myers said the event likely would be shared through Facebook Live, which has been used to broadcast school sporting events.

Myers anticipates an hour should be long enough for each graduation, with time to spare for cleaning and sanitizing before the next ceremony begins.

Northampton High School graduation will be Saturday, June 5, with four sessions expected to be held at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon.

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