West Hartford to Hold ‘Drive-In’ Graduations for Conard and Hall High Schools

In a letter to members of the Class of 2020 and their families, West Hartford Public Schools announced Thursday that Conard High School will have graduation on Wednesday, June 24, and Hall High School will hold graduation on Thursday, June 25, with both ceremonies taking place at the Farmington Polo Grounds.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Superintendent of Schools told the Board of Education Tuesday night that there would be a live graduation ceremony for members of the Class of 2020, and on Thursday the plan was shared with seniors.

“Keep June 24 and 25 open,” Moore told the Board, noting that unlike most years, Conard and Hall will graduate on different days.

In a letter jointly issued by Moore, Conard Principal Julio Duarte, and Hall Principal Dan Zittoun, the district announced that both high schools will have a “drive-in movie” graduation ceremony at the Farmington Polo Grounds.

Conard’s ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 24, beginning at 6 p.m., and Hall’s ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 25. Both schools have established rain dates.

To keep things fair, Director of Diversity Enhancement Roszena Haskins, who said Tuesday that she was very excited about the plan, oversaw the decision on the order of the graduation ceremonies.

“We would like to begin by thanking you for your support during these unprecedented times. Over the last few weeks, as guidelines have evolved, so too have our plans for graduation. We recognize how hard you have worked to get to this point and the recent sacrifices that you have had to make this past spring. Today, we are excited to share some good news about how honoring the culmination of your high school experience will still be achieved safely during these unusual circumstances. Please mark your calendars for two important senior celebration and commencement activities,” the letter states.

The graduation will include pre-recorded as well as live audio and visual elements. 

Each family will be permitted to bring one vehicle to the ceremony, and will park on the Polo Grounds. There will not be any assigned spaces, and the venue will open at 5 p.m. for each ceremony.

The graduation will be broadcast and streamed live through West Hartford Community interactive (WHCi), which will allow other family members, friends, and other students from both schools to enjoy the festivities.

All students are being asked to submit to their principals, by June 2, a photo for use in production of a keepsake video presentation, and the photo will be combined with the senior portrait so that each member of the class has their own special individual moment during the video presentation.

The photo should be an image that graduates feel best represents their high school experience. Suggestions are: student pictured in their cap and gown; a picture from a performance stage, athletic field, community service event, extra-curricular activity; or just a candid shot.

“Finally, as a special tribute to the Class of 2020, we invite students and their families to join us for a Car Parade on Monday, June 15,” the district announced. “In collaboration with the Town of West Hartford and the West Hartford Police Department, we have planned a Graduation Caravan that will allow extended family and other community members to celebrate our graduating seniors. Graduating seniors are asked to designate one adult to drive the student as a passenger through the parade route.”

The parade vehicles can be decorate to capture the students’ unique interests.

The Conard and Hall Graduation Caravan parades will be held simultaneously. More details about the timing of the parade and route, as well as safety rules and expectations, will follow.

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