Graduation plans for NBTHS seniors include modified stage walk, anticipated Senior Celebration

Frank Wojciechowski

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Graduation plans for North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS) seniors include a simulated walk across the stage, a virtual prom show and an anticipated Senior Celebration.

Each member of the Class of 2020 will have the opportunity to “walk across the stage” as they would have done in a traditional in-person ceremony, according to a letter sent to parents by Principal Michael Kneller.

Students are able to sign up for time slots to report to the high school with up to three other immediate family members.

With social distancing guidelines enforced, the graduate will receive his/her cap and gown and then be able to walk across the stage while relatives take photos. Students can decorate their caps and email photos for a collage that will be shown as part of the ceremony.

Once completed, the school’s TV Production staff will edit the videos into a full graduation ceremony that will include special guests, including 1997 NBTHS graduate and former professional soccer star Tim Howard.

The ceremony has a tentative air date of 6 p.m. June 17 on North Brunswick Channel 15 and YouTube.

For more information or to sign up for a time slot, visit www.nbtschools.org/o/nbths/news. Anyone with concerns about filming or coming to the high school should email Kneller at mkneller@nbtschools.org.

All filming must conclude by June 10 to allow staff members time to put the ceremony together.

There will also be a town-wide horn honking to recognize the Class of 2020, led by township police, fire and EMTs.

There are other senior activities planned to celebrate the Class of 2020. From June 1 through July 26, a special digital message to the Class of 2020 will be displayed on the Route 1 sign board near Bowlero, with a banner to be placed on the corner of Raider Road and Route 130 shortly thereafter.

Students can show off their prom attire through a virtual prom show.

A Senior Celebration is planned for 5-10 p.m. July 17 at Eagles Landing Day Camp in North Brunswick; a final decision based on current public gathering guidelines will be made before June 15.

The week of June 22-26 will be open for seniors to return textbooks and Chromebook laptop computers and any other outstanding items to the high school. Seniors will receive their diplomas, yearbooks, a 2020 class T-shirt and any remaining locker items or gym clothes.

“Despite these unusual circumstances, we look forward to recognizing the NBTHS Class of 2020 and providing them with a graduation ceremony that will clearly stand out from any other group of students who graduate from our high school, but that they can look back upon fondly,” Kneller said in the letter.

After Gov. Phil Murphy announced on May 26 that outdoor graduations could be planned after July 6, Kneller said in an interview that, “We are proceeding with our original graduation plan and have begun filming for our June 17 ceremony that will still air at 6 p.m. We wanted to keep to our tradition of holding a ceremony on our last day of school.”

He added that administrators will also plan for an outdoor ceremony and are awaiting guidance from the governor’s office.

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In South Brunswick, the high school continues to put together a virtual graduation, Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder said in an interview, but administrators are also awaiting guidance from the governor as to how to proceed.

“Graduation ‘guidance’ has created a second, maybe third round of false hope for our seniors. Our students and families have been through so much and did not deserve another blow. Impossible restrictions! Enough is enough!!!” Feder posted to his Twitter page on May 27, referencing a link to the governor’s plans: https://www.nj.gov/education/covid19/boardops/commencement.shtml