The South Country School District’s senior graduation will be held on Thurs- day, June 25 with a June 26 rain date. Though it will not be held in the traditional sense, it will be still “live.” The ceremony will begin at 8:30 p.m. with a large projection screen and sound system to be livestreamed by those not in attendance.
How will it work? All graduates will assemble in their cars at the middle school’s west parking lot and will be allowed one car with up to three additional cars with family members and guests. The procession will leave the middle school at 7:30 p.m. and drive through Bellport Village down South Country Road, and end at the high school. Transportation will be given to anyone who is in need.
At that point, all cars will receive graduation programs and proceed to the athletic field, where students will give live speeches on a stage platform— one speaker at a time. Superintendent of schools, Dr. Joseph Giani, will then announce live as a photo of each senior is projected onto a large screen. The president of the board of education, Anne Hayes, will also administer the ceremonial moving of the tassel and fireworks by Grucci will, as always, be present.
“Mr. Hogan [principal] and all the administrators were really committed to making this celebration special. Ms. DellaRosa, the 12th-grade AP [teacher], took special care in some of the finer details to make this day memorable,” explained Ellen Hoffman, Bellport Student Council advisor for the Class of 2020. “I’m excited how it all came together because it’s so inclusive—the teachers can take part and the community will celebrate the grads as well.”
What is really special, she continued, is that all the officers of the Student Council and the Class of 2020 were involved in the discussions, so they feel a part of the process and tradition.
“Speaking to the seniors, I know they are really looking forward to this night,” she added.
Senior Carly Diolosa shared a similar sentiment, stating that she loves the drive-in style of a live graduation to celebrate the Class of 2020.
“I think that it is a great alternative to the ‘normal’ graduation, as we know that type of ceremony would be nearly impossible due to state guidelines,” she added. “I am so appreciative for all of the time and effort put in by the administration and faculty to ensure that we have a memorable moment to celebrate our success. Though it may not be what we had anticipated, I am confident it will be a beautiful night to remember and will certainly exceed our expectations.”
After the ceremony is over, all cars will be released single file to pass by the front of the high school and principal Timothy Hogan will hand a diploma jacket to each graduate as they exit. Actual diplomas will be mailed home. Additionally, all school grounds and the parking area will be decorated with signs, banners and individual graduate signs, as well as lighting, plants and flowers.
Hogan assured that the district will be adhering to all COVID-19 precautions in order to provide a safe and healthy environment and for the protection of the students, parents and staff. He also requested that anyone experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating to not attend the graduation ceremony.
“We are very much looking forward to honoring our seniors at this year’s graduation,” he added. “Although not a graduation ceremony in the traditional sense, we are confident this experience will be both meaningful and memorable. Ultimately, that is the goal for our students at graduation every year!”
All graduates and guests must remain in their cars at all times and only four people are allowed per vehicle (including the graduating senior). Anyone who cannot attend can livestream the event. Further details will be provided as the dates become closer. For those with questions about the ceremony, contact the district office.