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Alternative graduation plans for seniors underway

Signs recognizing seniors will be displayed on Park Square Green the week of June 1. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Plans to honor the city’s high school Class of 2020 are coming together.

At the May 4 Westfield School Committee meeting, Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said that a committee of senior class officers, class advisers,.principals from both high schools and Ramon Diaz, Jr. from the School Committee have been meeting every Monday to formulate alternative plans for graduation during COVID-19 social distancing orders.

Czaporowski said the committee voted to postpone graduation until July 30 and 31, at which time they hope restrictions will be relaxed, and they will be able to hold some sort of ceremony. They also want to do something to recognize the seniors going into the military who are leaving in June, he said.

The district also wanted to recognize the seniors who will be leaving this year, and have planned to use Park Square Green to publicly recognize them. Czaporowski said he thought that a sign for each senior graduating from Westfield High School, Westfield Technical Academy and St. Mary’s, featuring their name, photo, school and a “Congratulations, Seniors” message would be a fitting tribute. The nearly 500 signs will be displayed on the green the week of June 1, typically “senior week.”

Czaporowski said he received a donation from the Emergency Management Committee, and will also be using funds typically used for graduation for the signs, which will be made by the Sign Shop in Westfield. When the week is over, seniors may pick up their signs.

“I thought it was a good way to recognize graduates. At some point during the week, most people will drive by the green at least once,” Czaporowski said, adding that Principal Matthew Collins of St. Mary’s thought it was a great idea, and wanted his seniors to be included.

“Seniors in the city are feeling more together as a result of this. There’s a sense of unity amongst them,” Czaporowski said.

The last day of new learning for seniors is May 29, with the following Monday and Tuesday, June 1 and 2, available for makeup work.

School will end on June 23 for the rest of the students, with the last day of learning on June 19, and the remaining two days for makeup work and end of year celebrations if teachers plan them, Czaporowski said.

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