Trumbull schools begin setting graduation plans

TRUMBULL — Increased vaccinations and loosening restrictions have school officials optimistic that graduations will happen this year.

“We will be graduating on June 17, the day before the scheduled last day of school,” said Trumbull High Principal Marc Guarino. “We continue to be in touch with the Health Department, and the other town officials. But we have plenty of room on the field for the graduates.”

Guest seating at the event will be limited to two per graduating senior. Guarino said the event would be livestreamed and there would be remote viewing stations.

“At least they’ll get to watch the event,” he said.

Last year, school officials were caught off guard by an overwhelmingly negative reaction to an initial plan that critics called a “drive-through” graduation. The original plan called for assigning each senior a time to come to the school with their family, and then to exit the vehicle to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.

But parents and students panned the idea, and an online petition seeking to delay graduation until it was safe to hold a traditional ceremony generated nearly 2,800 signatures.

The school ultimately held a daylong staggered graduation ceremony, with the school’s more than 500 seniors walking in groups of about 30 across three staging areas in phases, 90 minutes apart, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event was streamed live, and the pre-recorded speeches and performances were run on a loop throughout the day. The school later released a recording of the virtual ceremony that featured the graduates’ senior portraits and a recitation of their names.

At St. Joseph, spokeswoman Maria Martinez said the school plans to hold a similar ceremony to the 2020 graduation, where students were seated on the field, socially distanced and masked. The details are still being finalized though, as health guidelines continue to change.

“It all depends on the CDC guidelines,” Martinez said.

St. Joseph’s graduation is scheduled for June 5. The event will be streamed live, and an event video will be available later.

Christian Heritage School also lists a June 5 graduation date on the school website. The school held a drive-in graduation in 2020, with graduates exiting their cars to receive their diplomas, and horn honks replacing the traditional cheers and shouts from family members.

deng@trumbulltimes.com