WESTFORD — Officials at Nashoba Valley Technical High School have retooled their original plan for graduation from a one-day celebration of the Class of 2020 to a two-day festivity.
Graduation day was originally scheduled for Saturday, June 6, but now Sunday, June 7, has been added in to make sure there is enough time for all the graduates and their families to enjoy the unique ceremony.
Students will receive their diplomas according to their technical program at different times of each day. Both days’ events will start at 9 a.m. Saturday’s ceremony is scheduled to last until about 6 p.m., and Sunday’s a little longer.
Superintendent Denise Pigeon noted that this year’s commencement coincides with the 50th anniversary of Nashoba Tech’s first graduating class, making it even more special despite the pandemic that has closed all schools since March.
“Certainly, the Class of 2020 commencement is not what we envisioned, but will nevertheless be a tribute to our students and our history,” Pigeon said. “Our commencement will be both unique and personal to each technical program and student, enveloping a blended model that will consist of a virtual formal graduation video, followed by an onsite physical graduation ceremony involving students in their technical program.”
Saturday’s ceremony will start with remarks that will be recorded onsite and be available to watch on the school’s website, www.nashobatech.net. Pigeon will provide opening remarks, followed by guest speaker Charlie Ellis of Littleton, chairman of the School Committee and a member of Nashoba Tech’s first graduating class.
Ellis will be followed by speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian and president of the Class of 2020, then a speech by the president of the junior class and the ceremonial passing of the gavel. Principal Jeremy Slotnick will end that part of the ceremony with his closing remarks.
Following that, a series of onsite graduation ceremonies will be held by technical program. Graduates from each program, and their families, will arrive before each hourly ceremony, park in the grassy area in front of the school — one car per graduate — and graduates will stand at 6-10 feet apart and receive their diploma at a podium set up on the front steps.
The schedule of ceremonies for Saturday, June 6, is as follows.
9 a.m.: Veterinary Assisting, Session 1.
10 a.m.: Veterinary Assisting, Session 2.
11 a.m.: Dental Assisting; Health Assisting.
Noon: Early Childhood Education.
1 p.m.: Banking, Marketing & Retail; Programming & Web Development.
2 p.m.: Plumbing, Session 1; Carpentry.
3 p.m. Plumbing, Session 2.
4 p.m.: Cosmetology.
5 p.m.: Culinary Arts, Hospitality.
The schedule of ceremonies for Sunday, June 7, is as follows.
9 a.m.: Electrical Technology, Session 1.
10 a.m.: Electrical Technology, Session 2.
11 a.m.: Advanced Manufacturing; Biotechnology; Robotics & Automation.
Noon: Engineering Technology, Session 1.
1 p.m.: Engineering Technology, Session 2.
2 p.m.: Design & Visual Communications.
3 p.m.: TV & Media Production/Theatre Arts.
4 p.m.: Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing.
5 p.m.: Automotive Technology.
6 p.m.: Postgraduates.
“While we can never replace the traditional graduation ceremony,” Pigeon said, “we are happy to provide a forum where students and parents can share their pride and excitement at Nashoba Tech during a cherished onsite ceremony with their technical program family. While unconventional in that we need to practice social distancing during the onsite ceremony, it will become a unique part of Nashoba Tech’s history. Each graduate will receive a formal digital keepsake that will enable them to reflect on what will be an inevitable part of Nashoba Tech history.”