May 7, 2021
Dear Senior Parents & Guardians,
Congratulations on your son’s or daughter’s accomplishments throughout their career at Old Town High School. We are very proud of all that they have achieved. Enclosed in this mailing, you will find a complete calendar of all graduation activities for Old Town High School’s Class of 2021. We ask for your help and cooperation in making the upcoming season a safe and memorable time for everyone involved. The letter below contains a few thoughts in an attempt to prevent any misunderstanding of our expectations for our senior students over the course of the coming weeks. Please read this letter in its entirety as it does answer a vast majority of the questions we hear most frequently each year.
The first step that I would ask each of you to take is to encourage your son or daughter to make certain that they have made the academic progress necessary to complete the requirements for earning a diploma from Old Town High School. In most cases, we are well aware of the handful of students who are in danger, but a quick meeting with their school counselor to check would not be a bad idea. If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact our Student Services Office at 827-3910 x 2114.
We will hold a very important VIRTUAL senior meeting on Wednesday, May 19th at 1:15 p.m. This meeting, which is for students, is to go over the contents of this letter and a few other details with the entire class. This meeting is very important for everyone to be on the same page. During the meeting, we will cover the details of all end-of-year events. This meeting will be done via Zoom, and the link will be emailed out to students the day before the meeting.
The next few weeks will go by quickly, and we have learned over the years that you cannot tell them too many times. We will also invite representatives from Project Graduation to join us.
In years past, we have done marching practice each morning during the week of graduation. This year, we are going to trim that down to just 3 marching practices, on Tuesday, June 8th, Wednesday, June 9th, and Friday, June 11th. We will start at 9:00 a.m. and finish no later than 11:30 a.m. each morning. Students will be free to leave school at that time but may stay for lunch if they wish. Students who are not staying for lunch, or to do academic make-up work should leave the building at the conclusion of marching practice.
On Wednesday, Lifetouch will be here for individual pictures and we will take a group picture on Victory Field. We ask for your support and cooperation to make certain that students do not schedule appointments or work during these times. Students should plan to wear the shoes that they will wear for graduation during these practices.
We will hand out caps and gowns on Tuesday, June 8th at the end of marching practice. All laptops, class dues, and any other financial obligations with the school must be taken care of before students receive their caps and gowns.
A graduation is a formal event, and students are expected to dress as such under their gowns. Students should wear formal attire and should not wear jeans, sneakers, flip-flops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or sweatpants, for example. Students who are not dressed appropriately will be asked to change or not take part in the ceremony. If appropriate clothing is a barrier, families are encouraged to reach out to their student’s school counselor as they will be more than happy to assist. It should go without saying that we need students to be on their best behavior during the graduation ceremony. It takes only a moment for someone to miss a photo opportunity or an announcement of a name that they have been waiting for due to distractions, such as a beach ball being tossed. We spend a lot of time rehearsing and planning for a professional, well-timed ceremony. We have received many positive comments about our ceremony over the years and our intent is to continue with this tradition. Please help us with this request.
As stated in earlier correspondence with you, each senior student will receive up to 6 tickets for Graduation. The event will be live-streamed for those who are unable to join us in person.
If you have not already done so, students should see Mr. Bousquet by Friday, May 28th if they have questions about tickets or have any special seating requests. (This would include floor seating to accommodate wheelchairs – etc.)
The graduation program will be run a bit differently this year. In years past, we have had a Scholarship & Awards Night on Thursday and then Graduation would follow on Friday. For this year, we are going to attempt to blend the two to not have to bring a large group of people together for two nights in a row, three if you consider that prom is on Saturday. So, while the event may run a bit longer than normal, we feel that it is worth the time to honor the scholarship and awards that our seniors earn, in addition to the traditional awarding of their diploma in Mackenzie Gymnasium. For that reason, we are moving the starting time up to 6:30pm for this year. Please be prepared for a ceremony which will likely run a bit longer than normal. We will have a local photographer at the ceremony to take pictures and post for families and community members.
This year, we really need your cooperation to make this event as safe and as successful as possible. All students, guests and school employees will need to wear masks for this inside event. Your tickets will indicate where you are sitting, and you will be grouped with other family members. We will do our very best to put some space between you and other guests, and it will be important for guests to stay in their assigned seating area. Unfortunately, the school will not be open before and after the event for pictures. We will also need to exit the gymnasium in a more orderly fashion than just everyone leaving at once, which will be explained upon dismissal that night. We are working very hard to make this graduation experience as normal as possible for the class of 2021; we ask that you and your family give us your cooperation with these few minor adjustments.
Each year, the Old Town Elks Club hosts a Project Graduation event immediately after our graduation ceremony. They should be commended for their efforts. Many of you, as senior parents were involved in the fundraising and planning for this event. There is an information sheet and waiver form enclosed with this letter, and there is no cost for your son or daughter to participate. This event is not being run by the school, but with the school’s cooperation, and you should familiarize yourself with the information enclosed in this letter. We highly encourage your son or daughter to attend and take part; this is a fun event for all involved and memories are made that will last a lifetime.
Graduation is a very happy and satisfying time for most parents and students. However, I always have great concern during this time of the year for some of the choices that students make while trying to celebrate. I would encourage you to speak with your son or daughter about the importance of making good decisions regarding celebrating a graduation in an appropriate and safe manner. We implore you to use all the influence you can muster in the next few weeks to help keep your son or daughter on a safe path through this exciting transition in their life. Let’s do the best we can to assure them a safe passage to adulthood.
While this letter has a serious tone, we hope that you and your son or daughter will have an enjoyable and exciting time as we move through this graduation season. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact me.