While seniors at Gloucester High School will not be able to walk across a stage in caps and gowns this June because of the coronavirus pandemic, they will not go uncelebrated. 

Gloucester High School will host a drive-in theater presentation on Friday, June 21, for graduates and families to watch a "Graduation Celebration of the Class of 2020" video. The live, in-person graduation has been postponed to Sunday, Aug. 2. 

"We are partnering with Studio 1623 to create the video, including speeches by students and officials, key elements of our traditional graduation ceremony, a few new elements, and most importantly images of the Class of 2020," Principal James Cook wrote in a letter to students and family members announcing the graduation plans. 

1623 Studios has seen recent success in hosting a virtual event for Wellspring House and their Director Erich Archer is excited to collaborate with the high school in creating these seniors' special day. 

"It is very possible these days to use technology available to collect the elements you need to make something that resembles what it would have been," he said. 

The decision by Cook came after weeks of deliberation with student leaders from the graduating class to collect input from their peers, parents, community members, health officials, and other schools to explore the various possibilities for creating safe, festive graduation experiences for the Class of 2020.

"We deeply appreciate all of the thoughtful feedback that we have received from our community," Cook added. 

While the original graduation date of June 14 is a moot point now, seniors will receive "pomp and circumstance" in three ways this summer: 

Graduation Celebration of the Class of 2020 video will premiere at the O'Maley Innovation Middle School parking lot, 32 Cherry St., on Sunday, June 21 at 8:30 p.m.

Senior Awards Night video will be shared with families on Friday, June 19.

Live, in-person graduation ceremony on Sunday, August 2.

"We will continue to work closely with city officials to abide by state and local guidelines for keeping you and your children safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic," Cook wrote. 

As the scheduled date for a graduation ceremony gets closer, Cook will send out more details as the status of Gov. Charlie Baker's "safer-at-home" advisory evolves. 

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.

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