A small group of New Bedford High School students and parents gathered outside of the city's administration building yesterday in protest of the school department's decision not to hold a graduation ceremony apparently due to COVID-19 concerns. They held signs with messages such as "Why Did Everyone Else Get A Graduation?" and "Our Kids Deserve A Graduation."

One of those parents called Michael and Maddie this morning to voice her frustration.

"It's just not right," said the caller. "Why did everyone else in the surrounding communities have a graduation, but New Bedford High can't have theirs?"

We asked her if she had spoken to anyone in the administration about the reasons, but she said she had not.

I suggested that the volume of graduates at New Bedford High might make it more difficult to pull off a socially distanced commencement. "t's just probably not as easy as it would be for a Fairhaven High, for example," I said.

"If you've ever been to Paul Walsh Field, there is a way that they could pull it off if they really put some thought into it. There's a ton of space," she replied.

We reached out to the school department for a comment about why New Bedford High School decided not to attempt a socially distanced commencement as other local high schools had, but we didn't hear back by the time this story was posted.

While I agree with the caller that there was probably some way to successfully pull off some kind of a socially distanced graduation, it is highly unlikely that it will happen at this point.  Considering we are already into August, it would be nearly impossible to plan and execute before the first day of school.

I would imagine that all of the administration's attention and efforts are being focused on a plan for beginning the school year next month.

Maybe the school could consider a doubleheader commencement next year? Keep praying for that vaccine.

Courtesy of Marianne Farr
Courtesy of Marianne Farr

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