Parade, virtual ceremony to replace Staples traditional graduation rites
WESTPORT — Staples’ class of 2020 won’t get to enjoy a typical graduation ceremony, but the town has prepared its own way to send graduates off in style — a car parade.
According to Interim Superintendent David Abbey, the Staples High School Graduation Committee and Staples principal Stafford Thomas have planned the parade for graduates on June 11. The parade route will go from Long Lots Elementary School to Staples.
“The parade, with close supervision from the (Westport Police Department), will take students, one car per family, through the Staples campus and lead out past Bedford Middle School and out through either the Wakeman or BMS entrance,” Abbey said in an email.
The parade will start at 10 a.m. and is expected to last for one to two hours. Abbey said Thomas has worked alongside the Westport-Weston Health District on spacing of faculty and the number of faculty over the three campuses — Long Lots, Bedford Middle School and Staples — for the parade.
“There will be no stopping as concerns have come up with respect to the potential of people getting out of cars and ignoring social distancing,” Abbey said. “Additionally, if cars were to stop, with an estimated 450 cars, parade time could jump from two hours to as much as six hours.”
Staples’ campus will also be lined with congratulatory banners to honor the students, he said.
“This parade will be a celebration,” Abbey said, “Staples radio station 90.3 will have music and live commentary, cars will be decorated and the event will also be streamed on TV.”
A virtual graduation for Staples students will take place on June 16 — the original graduation date. The virtual ceremony will have a master of ceremony to guide viewers through all of the segments included in the traditional graduation program.
Abbey said the ceremony will be streamed and a link will be sent to seniors so that they can access the video to view at any time.