CONNOR TOWNSHIP, Maine — Connor Consolidated School, a PreK-6 facility, worked with their graduating class to film a video depicting what would be a normal graduation ceremony while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
With only five students in the sixth grade class, the school was able to organize appointments with students and parents in which they were able to film them each individually marching on the stage in the school. One student and their immediate family would come in to ensure there were under 10 people in the school at a time.
“We were trying to figure out a creative, out of the box, way to still make graduation happen,” Connor Consolidated School Principal Heather Anderson. said “Our goal was to give our kids some sense of normalcy, and we wanted to make sure we could still give them a graduation.”
And while the graduates were not able to all come into the school together, they were each filmed separately and the footage will be cut into a video that will be published online on June 5.
“We drafted out safety protocols and sent students and parents a letter,” she said. “We stayed within the governor’s guidelines, and everyone was comfortable with it. We were able to keep everyone safe and sanitized while giving them a graduation experience that is similar to what they normally do.”
Aside from students and their immediate families, Anderson and grade 4-6 teacher Marion Lugdon were the only others in the building.
Each student scheduled a separate appointment, and once they came into the building they spent about 45 minutes filming all of the activities that would normally take place during gradation, such as marching, moving their tassels and getting their picture taken at a photo booth.
Graduating student Garnet Gillette had looked forward to singing during graduation since last year, Anderson said, and the school was able to film her singing on stage as part of the digital ceremony.
The video is currently being edited and a link will be provided to parents and published on the Connor Consolidated Facebook Page. The school is also creating DVDs as gifts to the graduating class.
Overall, being able to see students again was a “very emotional” experience, Anderson said.
“There were some tears and parents were very appreciative,” she said. “One of the first things parents said when we announced that we weren’t reopening was that they were looking forward to their son or daughter graduating. There was a lot of sadness and grief over losing that and I feel like we were able to give the community a little something back.”