April 30th - Principal's Update #23

posted May 4, 2020, 11:24 AM by Hillary Stasonis

Hello Parents, Guardians and Caregivers,


On behalf of our senior class officers, senior advisors, senior class Assistant Principal Scott Young,  I would like to say thank you to all the seniors and their families for their patience as we’ve gone through this process to confirm a structure for events connected to the Class of 2020. As I mentioned in my last update, it was important to me as the leader of NAHS to get input directly from the seniors. The final product of events and possible events represents the consensus of the senior class officers, senior advisors and our administration. 


For the process prior to me making the final decision, the senior advisors and officers have been meeting regularly since the start of the health crisis. Mr. Young and I started joining the team for meetings on April 17th. We met four times to discuss opportunities, create the survey, review the survey results (summary of results) and come to consensus on events. I also had  ongoing communication with the Superintendent’s office. We brought our ideas and proposal to a larger Class of 2020 Events subcommittee made up of key school personnel including one of our school nurses, a few student officers, a few parents from our PAC and SOS, a member of the NAPD, a representative from NA CAM,  a representative from the youth center and a representative from our School Committee to review our proposal for events for vetting and feasibility. 


The Class of 2020 Event subcommittee will continue to meet regularly to coordinate plans, logistics, and implementations of any events. They will also assist in the promotion of the events and coordinating any volunteers that are needed. For all those looking to help we will have a survey out in the near future to gather specific information. 


To the Class of 2020


To our seniors, you have an amazing group of leaders. Jack Muse, Caleb Litster, Lillian Papell and Anant Shah have been tremendous to work with as they advocate for the wishes of your class.  The team of the officers and advisors, Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Bentley is an absolute pleasure to partner with as we continue this journey. 


I mentioned back on April 1st that we will do everything in our power to make sure the closing events for the NAHS Class of 2020 are meaningful and memorable. Your advisors and officers have done their part in working with the school in setting the foundation for this to happen. I’m happy to be able to share with all of you the dates and events for your celebrations. We’ll be working out many details before each event.

Class of 2020 Events


Scholarship Knight - Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 6:30pm on NA CAM


We have partnered with NA CAM to prepare virtually for Scholarship Knight. We will be pre-taping the event to run on Wednesday 6/3. Our event coordinators are working with scholarship donors on videos that will be included as part of the presentation. Recipients will be invited to tune in at 6:30pm for the scholarship ceremony. The entire community is welcome to view.


Awards Knight - Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 6:30pm on NA CAM


Awards Day will turn to Awards Knight for 2020. We will be pre-taping the event to run on Thursday 6/4. Our event coordinators are working with Awards Knight presenters on video submissions to be included as part of the presentation. All of our students are encouraged to tune in at 6:30pm for the awards ceremony. The entire community is welcome to view.


Graduation - Friday, June 5, 2020 at 6:00pm on NA CAM


Seventy percent of seniors (233/330) responded to the survey. The dates that most, if not all, of our students are most available are June 5th and 6th. 49% of the respondents wanted graduation around June 5th and 6th. No other weekend in the future yielded more than a 27% approval.


We want all of our graduates available for the ceremony. Given the current state guidelines, the plan is to pre-tape the different components of graduation and put them together to be shown at 6pm. 


The survey also determined that the most important components were:

  1. Being with Classmates (79%) - Most difficult given the current guidelines

  2. Having my diploma handed to me (68%)

  3. Hearing name read (66%)

  4. Having family present (64%)

  5. Walking across the stage (62%)

  6. Being at the HS (51%)



Rather than having the seniors send in a picture in their cap and gown, we decided to plan a more personal touch with the presentation of diplomas that would satisfy the items highlighted from the survey in the previous paragraph. We will work in the safest way possible with respect to the current guidelines.


  • The Presentation of Diplomas

    • Graduation stage will be set up in the gym in mid-May.

    • NA CAM will be recording and a professional photographer will be present

    • Schedule each student (over 7-10 days) in mid to late May to come to NAHS and allow immediate family to accompany the graduate, up to 8 people. 

    • Seniors will wear caps & gowns. Depending on the delivery date, caps & gowns will either be delivered directly to students prior to their appointment or ironed and distributed in a staging area

    • Immediate family would go to a designated place to take a picture

    • Senior class officer and School Committee representative are on stage

    • Senior class officer reads name and student walks across stage to receive diploma

      • We’ll take guidance from the Board of Health on if a handshake is appropriate as well as whether the diploma will be handed directly to the student or if the student will pick it up off the table

    • Graduate takes a photo with immediate family in front of stage

    • Graduate and immediate family leaves through designated exit

    • Repeat with next student

  • Chorus: Mrs. Durkin will work with the choir students on recording a video of the national anthem and an additional song

Band: Mr. Smalley will work to submit a recording of a piece to be played during the ceremony

    • A recognition of our students entering the military will be played during one of the National Anthem. 

  • Speeches: The five speeches (Class President, Valedictorian, Saludetorian, Superintendent and Principal) will be recorded at agreed upon times toward the end of May at the graduation stage 

  • NAHS Staff: The staff will also have a special addition to the ceremony that they will be working on over the next few weeks


The ceremony will be edited together and produced by NA CAM in time for a review of the product. Knowing there are additional details to finalize, I wanted to be as specific as possible with you at this time. 


Car Parade - Saturday, June 6, 2020; Time TBA


As stated in the survey, the most important component to seniors was being together. The event that could involve the community the most while allowing the seniors to be together in a socially distanced approved way is a car parade. We have several details to workout on this so that it is safe for drivers and possible viewers. The Class of 2020 subcommittee including the North Andover Police do believe that we can make a route work in order to hold this event in the safest manner.


It will involve some strict guidelines to be done in a safe manner. A team from our subcommittee will be working on the details over the next few weeks. 


Events Dependent on Social Distancing Guidelines Being Eased


  • Informal Event at NAHS - Friday, July 24, 2020; Time TBA


  • Formal Event at Danversport - Saturday, July 25, 2020; 6:00pm - 10:30pm

    • Buses TBA


**The events are scheduled tentatively in July. They will be cancelled if the social distancing guidelines are not in place for us to attend on the scheduled day.


**The senior class will be in touch for specific interest around both events in the near future. 


Class Dues


Our senior class advisors have all the information related to class dues. We will be confirming plans and associated costs to the Car Parade and Formal Event at Danversport Yacht Club. Our partners from the SOS Committee are also working on a plan for the Class of 2020.  The health crisis has affected a number of families financially. We will be supportive of any student that may need financial assistance to attend a Class of 2020 end of year event. Class dues go toward yearbook, cap, gown, SOS event and end of year events. As we communicate with SOS on their plans, finalize the Car Parade and the interest in the formal event at Danversport, we will make an assessment on the class dues. Should a portion of the dues need to be refunded, we will work with Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Mealey on the process of how to issue a check.



Next Steps for Seniors

  • Finish strong! Complete your assignments connected to Remote Learning

  • Check your school email daily as it is the primary use of communication

    • Complete any survey or form that is sent to you from a class officer or administrator

      • Upcoming survey on Senior Intentions coming Friday, May 1st from Mr. Nugent

      • Upcoming survey on events listed above

      • Information on scheduling appointment time

  • The official last day of school for seniors is Friday, May 29th

  • Your official last day of remote classes is Friday, May 22nd

    • My leadership team is working on a simple alternative for any school days between May 26th and May 29th.

    • A portion of you will be coming into the HS during that period to walk across the stage for graduation filming.

  • Make sure you have any textbook, uniform or any other item connected to NAHS.

    • We would like you to bring any missing items in a bag with you when you come for graduation filming

    • There will be a separate communication in the future about the retrieval of essential items at NAHS.


I hope that reading the possibilities gave you a burst of excitement about the future. The members of the Class of 2020 Events subcommittee are committed to shaping these events so they are special for you and your families. The Class of 2020 will go down as the most resilient graduating class over my tenure in North Andover. I’ll have more to share during my speech to the class at graduation. I hope you and your family are safe and healthy. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a teacher, counselor, administrator or support staff member if you need any assistance.


Please be well,


Chet Jackson


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