SACKETS HARBOR — Sackets Harbor Central School’s senior class and Graduation Planning Committee met with principal Amy Horack and superintendent Jennifer Gaffney multiple times over the past few weeks to plan a special graduation ceremony in place of a traditional event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These collaborative efforts have led to a three-part graduation plan.
The first part will be a graduation-by-appointment in which seniors will be scheduled to meet with Ms. Gaffney and Mrs. Horack at the Sackets Harbor gazebo to receive their diplomas and awards as well as be introduced while they are dressed in caps and gowns. Each senior may bring their immediate family members so they can share in the special moment. Everyone present will be required to wear masks.
This part of the graduation plan will be recorded by Olivia Grant from Olivia Grant Creative who will create a professional production to commemorate graduation. This portion of the graduation plan will include traditional commencement addresses by class leaders, community members, and school district administration. The graduation video will be available on the district website for those friends and family members unable to join in person. Additionally, each senior will receive a DVD which will include not only the graduation video, but also coverage of the other two parts of the graduation plan.
“This certainly is not the way in which we all hoped to end your senior year, and we want you all to know we have been thinking of you,” stated a letter sent out to the district from Ms. Gaffney and Mrs. Horack. “We share the disappointment and frustration that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust upon us all. Although we are unable to hold a traditional ceremony at Sackets Harbor CSD, we have been working hard to develop a plan that we hope will bring us together and to celebrate your accomplishments.”
The schedule for each graduation-by-appointment will be released in the coming days. The school district is aiming for the week of June 1 through June 5, but it will ultimately depend on the arrival of caps and gowns.
The second part of the graduation plan includes a car parade through the town of Hounsfield and village of Sackets Harbor on Wednesday, June 24. Line up will start at Sackets Harbor CSD at 6 p.m. the Sackets Harbor Police Department, along with Sackets Harbor and Sulpher Springs Fire Departments, will lead the parade. Families may decorate vehicles if they wish, with one to two vehicles permitted per family. The exact parade route will be determined and shared in the next few weeks but will end at the Madison Barracks polo fields for part three of the graduation plan.
Immediately after the parade, at around 7 p.m., a live premier viewing of the graduation ceremony will be held with all the members of the Class of 2020 present with their families. The district has been in contact with Jefferson County leadership and Jefferson County Public Health to review the plan and receive guidance. The county expressed reservations about the district organizing a parade and drive-in experience, but was assured that all health protocols will be adhered to in order to keep participants safe.
Caps and gowns will be distributed to each senior on a date still to be determined. Graduates are asked to report to the gazebo dressed in cap, gown and cords, if applicable, and wear them for the parade and ceremony as well.
More details on all aspects of the graduation ceremony will be provided by the district in the days ahead. If the weather is poor, the events will be moved to Thursday, June 25 at the same times.