Harwood Union High School will host a graduation for the Class of 2020 on Saturday, June 20, at 10 a.m. However, this graduation will be nothing like Harwood graduations from years past. There will be no communal seating, no tent and chairs on the front lawn. Instead, seniors and their families will arrive at the high school in cars, park on the front lawn, and stay in their cars as they listen to the graduation being broadcast over the radio.
A series of speeches will start the ceremony, the microphone being disinfected between speakers. There will be a stage, and seniors will be called up one by one to collect their diplomas and have their photos taken. While collecting diplomas, which will be distributed in bags, all seniors must wear masks. The graduation will also be filmed and a copy of the ceremony will be shared with all graduates.
In addition to the graduation ceremony on June 20, two other events are planned in honor of Harwood’s senior class. On Tuesday, May 26, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Harwood Union High School parking lot, caps, gowns and senior banners will be distributed. This event will function like a drive-thru, with one senior per vehicle. Senior teacher advisers will have specific meeting spots in the parking lot for their students, where they will distribute the goods to their seniors, who must stay in the car.
Broadcasting station WCAX also plans to honor Harwood seniors, as well as seniors across the state, by airing high school senior appreciation program from June 5 to 12. The Harwood administration and senior teacher advisers have prepared a video message for the program.
Finally, photographer Barrie Fisher will invite all Mad River Valley high school seniors to join her for an outdoor photography experience that will happen over two days in the parking lot at the Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield, where she will have a photo studio set up. On Thursday, May 21, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Friday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., students can have a 5- to 10-minute photo session.
Students should arrive to the photo studio wearing a mask and carrying any other item of meaning to incorporate into the photo session. Fisher will ask students to remove masks during the shoot. Photos will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I have been feeling and thinking about the seniors in the Class of 2020. They have lost their senior-year spring. I reflect back to the time when I was a senior…. I want to do what I can to bring them love and joy,” said Fisher.