Mayor, BPS Announce Virtual Graduation for Seniors

For hundreds of high school seniors living in East Boston, the last year of high school is a right of passage, and one that is remembered for a lifetime.

Whether these seniors are at East Boston High School or attending other public or private schools the final year of high school  is usually filled with a tremendous amount of excitement and accomplishment.

East Boston senior and Boston Latin School student William Marchi watches his final
classes online last week. Marchi, who will attend Coastal Carolina University in the fall, and
over 3,000 other seniors from the Class of 2020 have been robbed of a proper senior year
since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. Last week, Mayor Martin Walsh and Boston
Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced the city will honor graduating
seniors with a virtual graduation in June.

However, the Class of 2020 has been living in a strange time since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools back in March.

The usual traditions of senior prom, senior day and, above all, graduation exercises have all been cancelled.

To help bring back a little normalcy to the lives of seniors robbed of what was to be their greatest year, Mayor Martin Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced the city will honor graduating seniors in the Class of 2020.

The Mayor and Superintendent will celebrate their accomplishments with a virtual graduation ceremony that will be broadcast on WCVB Channel 5 on Saturday, June 13 from 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. The ceremony will be hosted by Mayor Walsh, Superintendent Cassellius and will feature Former United States Secretary of Education John King as the keynote speaker.

In addition to a televised broadcast, the ceremony will also be streaming online at WCVB.com and available after the broadcast on boston.gov.

“We are tremendously proud of our graduating seniors, who together mark a class of smart, hardworking, and creative individuals who I know will go on to do great things,” said Walsh. “While the coronavirus pandemic has sidelined some of our most important traditions, including high school graduation, we will not miss the opportunity to celebrate their achievements or mark this important milestone in their lives. I want all the seniors to know that their city is rooting for them, and will be behind them every step of the way. We are proud to work with WCVB Channel 5 to broadcast this very special event.”

The ceremony will feature remarks from School Committee Chair Michael Loconto, valedictorians from all 36 BPS high schools, and surprise guests. Students have also been asked to submit photos and videos of their high school experience.

“Senior year for any high school student is a remarkable time in a young person’s life, and the senior year for the Class of 2020 is unlike any we’ve experienced in our lifetime,” said Superintendent Cassellius. “The courage, flexibility, and resilience our students have shown, supported by our community is an inspiration for all of us, and gives us all reason to be hopeful about the future and the legacy the Class of 2020 will create long after their time in the Boston Public Schools has passed.”

EBHS Headmaster Phil Brangiforte said he always looks forward to celebrating all the accomplishments of his seniors during senior day, awards nights and graduation.

Addressing his seniors directly, Brangiforte said it breaks his heart that the Class of 2020, that has accomplished so much, has been cheated on a proper end to their high school careers.

“Unfortunately, you are approaching the pinnacle of your high school careers during one of the greatest conflicts the world has faced in over a century,” said Brangiforte. “I am truly sorry for the personal struggles that each and everyone one of you encountered over the past several months, and I’m sure many of you feel cheated out of the activities and memories that senior classes before you have experienced.  Walsh has always been on your side through the entire pandemic.  He knows how important graduation is and will be hosting a virtual graduation to honor the class of 2020. I value his leadership during this difficult time.  The class of 2020 will go down in history and be the most remembered of all time.”

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