High School schedules ‘drive-in’ graduation

Family will tune in by radio or smartphone.

MVRHS has scheduled its graduation ceremony for July 26 at the Ag Society property in West Tisbury.

Wanting to give seniors a proper farewell, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School will be holding a “drive-in-style” graduation ceremony at the Agricultural Society property in West Tisbury on July 26.

The decision was announced in an email to parents of seniors by MVRHS Principal Sara Dingledy.

After receiving guidelines from the commissioner of the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the high school decided to move ahead with a ceremony for graduates.

“While we acknowledge that things are still so uncertain and dependent upon factors that are beyond our control, we feel strongly that a decision needed to be made so you and your families would know what to expect,” Dingledy wrote in a letter to families.

The ceremony will seat students 6 to 10 feet apart near the stage, while immediate family are in cars and can tune in via radio or a smartphone. MVTV will live-stream the event so family members and the general public are able to watch from home in real time.

Corona Stompers donated custom, hand-stitched masks for each graduating senior. Masks must be worn by all ceremony participants.

“This is our plan as of today. Plan B might require a different location, more limited participation, or a virtual ceremony,” Dingledy wrote. “All of this is based on the health guidelines in July. We will not know this information until closer to July 26th. We will send out an update by July 12th.”

On June 2, caps and gowns will be distributed to graduates.

“You will receive an email this Monday regarding the process of returning materials/collecting items. We know this is the last time that students will be officially stepping foot in our building. We have some special things planned to celebrate this milestone and make a less than perfect situation more joyful,” Dingledy wrote.

A parade is also planned for June 7 at 1 pm, which was the school’s original graduation date. More information will be provided about the route in the near future.

“We understand this is stressful for our students and for your families. As we have seen, things can change quickly in either direction. Please know that we are committed to keeping you informed of concrete information as we receive it. As always, ideas and contributions are welcomed,” Dingledy wrote.

Senior class president Alex Rego told The Times that although many ideas were floated for graduation, she is happy that the school is going ahead with some concrete plans for an in-person ceremony. “We were really just waiting to take that next step, and we had to wait for the new guidelines from [Gov.] Charlie Baker before we could make any set plans,” Rego said. “But I am excited for graduation, and happy we are going to make it happen.”

Rego also said that originally, class night was going to be combined with the graduation ceremony, but students and school officials have recently decided to host a virtual event on June 19. “Class night is a really special night, and it’s a lot about hearing from the donors. Many of the scholarships are memorial scholarships, and we want to give class night the time it deserves,” Rego said.