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Legislators Support Outdoor High School Graduations later this Summer

Posted on May 29, 2020 by admin


Area state lawmakers have sent two letters to Gov. Ned Lamont saying they are encouraged that he is considering the possibility of allowing outdoor high school graduations in July or August.

The lawmakers highlighted the efforts of Terryville High School senior Jacob Zappone, who launched a petition to Gov. Ned Lamont and the state Board of Education to allow for schools to hold outdoor graduations while socially distancing and having no spectators. The petition is here:

They also pointed to the governor of New Jersey’s May 25 announcement that schools in the Garden State can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies starting on July 6.

“We want the governor to know that we support his review of potential safe outdoor high school graduation ceremonies with clear procedural guidelines,” said Sen. Henri Martin (R-31st District). “We also support the efforts of students like Jacob who have spoken out. We have heard these students’ voices, and we are hopeful the governor will take action.”

“Graduating seniors have sadly already missed out on so much, the biggest being their end-of-year events and commencement ceremony. For high school seniors, these moments are something they look forward to and these are the things that lead to lasting memories. I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to still have a traditional commencement ceremony while socially distancing and being outdoors,” Rep. Whit Betts (R-78th District) said.

Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77th District) remarked, “My graduation ceremony from St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol is a memory I will cherish forever. I am reluctant to deprive a graduating senior of such a momentous occasion. It is important that the Governor be open to alternatives other than virtual commencement ceremonies.”

“Graduating seniors have worked very hard to get to this place and I can sympathize with their desire to walk across that stage – doing so virtually just isn’t the same. With specific guidelines, we should be able to conduct traditional commencement ceremonies,” added Rep. John Piscopo (R-76th District).

Rep. William A. Petit Jr. (R-22nd District) stated, “I believe that with appropriate planning and procedures in place to adhere to, our seniors should be able to have a safe and fun graduation. I applaud the thoughts and care that went into this proposal.”