Princeton High School will go virtual for commencement ceremony honoring graduating seniors

Princeton High School’s (PHS) graduating ceremony for high school seniors won’t take place on the front grounds of the school as in years past.

The graduating seniors on June 16 won’t be able to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas in-person, but school administration said students and their families will be able to experience a virtual presentation of diplomas.

“Parents will receive an email from high school with the viewing options – a link that will be accessible on June 16 at 5:30 p.m.,” PHS Principal Jessica Baxter said.

She added that Princeton has 353 senior students graduating next week from the Class of 2020.

New Jersey schools and school districts are grappling with how they conduct graduation ceremonies in 2020, despite Gov. Phil Murphy announcing that in-person graduations can take place beginning July 6.

In-person commencement ceremonies are to take place outside and adhere to the latest capacity on in-person gathers, which as of June 9 will incrementally increase to 500 people who can attend gatherings by July 3, according to Murphy.

Currently, the Murphy administration permits only virtual and drive through and drive in graduation ceremonies prior to July 6.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic graduations are becoming virtual in the state to protect against the spread of the virus and accommodate the governor’s orders.

According to Baxter, Princeton’s virtual graduation ceremony will include a student welcome address, introduction video by school retirees, student speeches, speeches by Baxter and Superintendent Steve Cochrane, and a presentation of diplomas (administration working on having student’s names with picture and/or video).

A turning of the tassels montage will also be included, along with a credit roll thanking volunteers, a list of seniors who did not participate (Princeton does not call the names of students who are not present during its normal graduation), pictures of retirees, and pictures of board members.