Seniors Still Celebrate Milestones

Senior+Riley+Aronson+receiving+his+diploma+at+the+WSHS+drive-through+graduation+ceremony+June+6.

Photo courtesy of Robert Marcus

Senior Riley Aronson receiving his diploma at the WSHS drive-through graduation ceremony June 6.

Video Courtesy of Ms. Kasunick

Lauren Cincotta, News Editor

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced the cancellation of many traditional senior events such as prom, senior night, and the traditional graduation celebration. However, West Springfield High School seniors have been given the opportunity to celebrate this milestone with some modifications.

Instead of walking through the middle and elementary schools, seniors participated in a Senior Parade on May 29th. The parade offered an opportunity for seniors to say goodbye to their former teachers and ended  at the high school at 2pm. “Ending the parade  at the high school at 2pm represents the 2 o’clock bell dismissing us on our last day of school,” explained senior Antonia Perakis. Students appreciated the chance to say goodbye to their high school teachers at the end of the parade. 

Senior Week activities began on Monday, June 1st. Students received their caps and gowns ahead of Senior Awards Night, which was presented virtually this year. Seniors and members of the community could view the program on June 4th at 6:00pm on Channel 15. The ceremony included a slideshow of senior awards and the presentation of the class gift, a Terrier statue to be placed by Clark Field  in memory of Kyle Thibodeau. During the presentation, Julia Gavel was announced as Salutatorian and Sophie Coyne was awarded the honors of Valedictorian and Most Outstanding Senior. 

Graduation at the Big E Coliseum is a long standing tradition for West Springfield High School students. Many current members of the Class of 2020 have family members who have had their high school graduations held in the Coliseum. Although, this year it looked slightly different. On June 6 and 7 each senior had the opportunity to walk across the stage at the Coliseum which was photographed and videotaped. Only seniors were allowed to exit the car and only one car was allowed per family at the Drive Thru Graduation Ceremony.  The Seniors were assigned day and time to attend the event. This Grad Walk also allowed the seniors to receive Diploma Jackets from the Mayor, Superintendent, and Principal Dr. Perrone. There is hope that an outdoor graduation ceremony can be held on August 14th at Clark Field, as long as conditions allow. 

Staff from West Springfield High School delivered yard signs to seniors all over town on May 4th as a reminder of this continued support. Despite having to adapt their celebrations to the Pandemic, members of the Senior Class are grateful for the support they’ve been given and the work the district has put into organizing senior events. “I’m actually very grateful with how our district and the community is handling this situation for the seniors, although it’s not the senior year any of us wanted, it’s clear they’re doing everything they can so that it’s still memorable for us,” added Perakis.

 Decisions have been made on the administrative level by a committee including Principal Dr. Perrone, two volunteer teachers, a vice-principal, a school committee member and the chair of the guidance department.  “This year Dr. Perrone and his graduation team have done an outstanding job providing the seniors with events and making us feel as though we haven’t been forgotten,” said senior Paul Malinoski.