BERLIN — An outdoor graduation is being planned for Berlin High seniors. The plan, developed by a committee of seniors, parents and staff, is to hold a graduation ceremony on Gaydo Field on Friday, June 12.
There will be limited guests and social distancing will be observed to make graduation as safe as possible. Rain dates are June 13 and 14.
Should the COVID-19 situation make an outdoor graduation impossible, the back-up plan calls for a drive-up ceremony at the Jericho Festival site on the same day. More details will be released shortly.
Berlin seniors put their prom on hold instead of having a virtual prom in hope that restrictions on large gatherings will relaxed later this summer. The owner of the venue has graciously agreed to work with the class on rescheduling, even waiting until late summer.
Berlin High plans to hold most award ceremonies remotely.
Gorham High has already announced plans for a parade and presentation graduation. Seniors will be escorted by Gorham Fire and Police through town all the way to the Mount Washington Auto Road. Graduation will take place at the base of New England’s highest mountain, modified to work within the guidelines for social gathering.
Valedictorian Noor Ahkter and Salutatorian Anna Roberge will deliver their speeches live while guest speaker Craig Langlois will deliver his address virtual. After receiving their diplomas, and moving their tassels, the graduates will depart for the annual Chem Free graduation party.
The plans were announced in a joint release by SAU 3 Superintendent of Schools Julie King, SAU 20 Superintendent of Schools David Backler, and White Mountains Community College President Chuck Lloyd. The three said all of their facilities are closed and they meet weekly to align protocols to minimize risk as they plan for safely reopening their buildings.
Both SAU 3 and 20 have set June 3 as the last day of learning for the school year. Summer programs at all three will be delivered remotely.
Berlin High is currently developing guidelines to allow CTE students and staff to safely be in the building in order to continue their work towards mastering the competencies necessary for certification and
licensing, specifically for students in the Welding and Health Sciences programs. At White Mountains
Community College, there are some labs being made up from the spring term while Commercial Driver
Training will be offered in Littleton.
The three educators said for the 2020-21 school year, flexibility is key.
“While we believe strongly that the traditional face to face delivery model offers students the best academic and social opportunities, conditions within our community may make this unsafe for periods of time throughout the year,” they wrote.
The three also praised faculty, staff, students, and families for successfully transitioned to on-line and remote delivery of education.