PLAISTOW — While some high-schoolers have to settle for virtual proms and graduation ceremonies, Timberlane Regional High School seniors might be donning formal wear and tossing graduation caps in mid-July.
On May 12, the school announced potential dates for numerous end-of-year events, including senior graduation and prom. Prom is currently scheduled to be held at Atkinson Country Club on July 14, and graduation is anticipated to be held on July 18.
The proposal acknowledges that if social distancing orders are still in effect on the scheduled date of prom, other options will have to be considered. One option, the proposal said, is a formal “first-year reunion” gathering which would be modeled after senior prom.
The proposal also stated that Timberlane will hold as close to a “traditional” graduation ceremony as possible, given the circumstances. Multiple suggestions on how to hold the ceremony and maintain social distancing are offered in the proposal, all of which involve live-streaming the event.
July 19 is the rain date for graduation, followed by July 25 and 26.
Cameron Lafontaine, a senior at Timberlane, said he appreciates the fact that the administration is making an effort to arrange in-person events, but he isn't sure summer events are realistic. He added that he liked the idea of holding a formal "first-year reunion," in place of prom.
"I hope the pandemic is over soon, but I think realistically, it will last into the next school year," he said. "I think the plans should be pushed back along with that."
Lafontaine added that he really wants to experience prom and graduation in person, and he thinks many of his peers feel the same way.
"A virtual ceremony would be difficult to pull off," he said. "I think any execution of it would be considered a joke. Online everyone is joking about it."
Previously, Timberlane Superintendent Earl Metzler said he would love seniors to be able to celebrate their accomplishments with in-person events, but if the state continues to advise against public gatherings by Aug. 1, it is unlikely that an in-person event will take place.
“If we don't get it done by the end of July, kids will be transitioning, or may have already transitioned, even emotionally, to their next phase, whether that is college or the military,” Metzler said. “Once you hit August, high school is over for a lot of these kids.”
Members of the school board did not respond to request for comment for this story.