Photo by Nick Lolis ’24
For the first time in almost 30 years, Staples will be holding its graduation ceremony for the class of 2021 outside on the football field rather than indoors, with the event taking place on Thursday, June 17 at 6 p.m.
“There will be one ceremony and therefore all of our seniors will be able to celebrate this momentous occasion together,” Principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr. said. “All students and speakers will be seated on the football field and each family of a graduating senior will receive two tickets.”
This graduation venue represents a major change for Staples as only two out of the past 27 graduations at Staples have been held outdoors, rather than in the gymnasium. However, this is far different when compared to the ceremony for the class of 2020, which was a drive-through graduation.
“I did really enjoy the graduation I had, but I’m glad to hear that it’s happening on the football field,” Sophie Casey ’20 said. “It’s nice that students will be able to collectively commemorate all they have been able to accomplish this year despite adverse circumstances. Graduating high school is a feat even when not set against the backdrop of a pandemic. They all deserve a day to see and celebrate each [other].”
Given that the graduation is outside this year, in case of inclement weather, the make-up date is on Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m., one day after the scheduled date.
Even with the drop in COVID-19 numbers recently as well as major increases in vaccination numbers statewide, Staples will require specific social distancing measures at the ceremony. There is also a remote option designed to help those who cannot attend in person.
“All guests will be seated in the two bleachers bracketing the field [and] this incredible event will be livestreamed for those family members and friends unable to attend,” Thomas said.
With some high schools across the country unable to hold a graduation ceremony this year, many seniors are grateful that they were given the opportunity in order to do so, even if it is outdoors.
“I’m really excited about graduation this year because having it on the football field will be a lot better than any other location,” Julia Blaney ’21 said. “I’m also just super grateful we get a somewhat normal senior experience this year.”