The Star-Herald

Fort Fairfield announces plans for socially distanced high school graduation

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — Fort Fairfield High School will celebrate its Class of 2020 with a drive-up ceremony that adheres to Maine’s recently released social distancing recommendations for high school graduations.

Thirty-one seniors in Fort Fairfield will graduate on Sunday, June 7, with the ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. Seniors will sit six feet apart under a tent set up in the area overlooking the baseball and track fields and will pick up diplomas and scholarship awards one at a time at a table. 

Students will march in and out of the ceremony one at a time, maintaining the necessary distance.

Each senior will receive two tickets that will allow for two vehicles of family members to park in designated spaces. Any non-reserved spaces will be used for general parking.

Principal Jamie Selfridge noted that the additional parking spaces will allow community members who do not have graduation tickets to watch the ceremony, from their vehicles, if they choose.

“The school has always had a great turnout of people coming to graduation and supporting our students,” Selfridge said. “We wanted to keep the class together as a whole, as well as provide the best option for the families and community members to participate.”

Though the graduation will feature speeches from class valedictorian Colby Giberson, salutatorian Jessica Halsey, Selfridge and SAD 20 superintendent Tim Doak, everyone will shorten their remarks to keep the ceremony from becoming too long for people watching from vehicles.

The ceremony will be livestreamed on the SAD 20 website and Facebook page and on whou.live/.

SAD 20 has also planned many special activities to celebrate the graduating class. School officials have placed special signs on each senior’s lawn to highlight them individually, and will soon be hanging up banners throughout town with seniors’ names and photos.

On Friday, June 5, the seniors will hold a car parade throughout the main streets of Fort Fairfield beginning at 1 p.m. The community will have the chance to watch everyone pass by and cheer them on.

Although this year’s ceremony won’t happen exactly in the way students envisioned before the pandemic, Selfridge wants the class to enjoy the special moments that come with graduating from high school, she said. 

“I hope that this year’s seniors will be able to see the positive in all that is happening,” Selfridge said. “It can be easy to be upset about the given circumstances and ultimately miss a special and important time in their lives.”

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