Dear Seniors and Parents,
It is difficult to imagine, but we are only days away from the special milestone in your lives, the finale to a high school career that you have eagerly anticipated for the last four years. We are anxiously planning your 2015 graduation ceremony, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16th, at 4:00 p.m. in the O’Neill Center at Western Connecticut State University. Please know that this event involves thoughtful coordination by many dedicated staff, members of our school community who have taught you, guided you, advised you, and are about to usher you toward the lives you will lead as college students, career-minded individuals, and productive citizens.
I did want to take a moment to review some important dates and behavioral expectations. We will have graduation rehearsal on Thursday, June 11th and Monday, June 15th in the auditorium. Students, you are expected to participate in both rehearsals so you understand the sequence of events and your place in the order of graduates. All book fines and dues must be taken care of before you receive your cap, gown, and graduation tickets. As graduates, you will receive 6 tickets for family members, which is based on the capacity of the O’Neill Center facility. However, we will also be broadcasting the ceremony this year via YouTube for family members unable to attend. You will be able to access the graduation ceremony in real time at http://graduation.nhstech.us/.
In order to help families who might need transportation to The O’Neill Center, busing from Newtown High School will be available. You may email Nathalie de Brantes (email@example.com) by June 10th to register for bus transportation. Please note that the bus will depart promptly at 1:45 p.m.
We also wanted to remind all seniors of the behavioral expectations during the days leading up to exams and during the ceremony. In recent years, there have been complaints about behavior, and the misnomer is that some of this has become a rite of passage for seniors or associated with a traditional senior “prank.” While we know this is both an exciting and emotional time in your lives, this has become problematic for a number of reasons. Please understand that students and staff in grades 9, 10, and 11 are busy preparing and reviewing for final exams, which have a direct impact on final grades. In addition, the Sandy Hook pre-school is part of our school and is easily disrupted.
Although all seniors have a right to a diploma, the following expectations need to be made clear for those planning to participate in commencement:
- Seniors who plan on participating in the ceremony will demonstrate responsible and respectful behavior throughout the final week(s) leading up to and including participation in graduation
- Students are obligated to return all books or materials and pay any overdue fines prior to graduation
- Any senior who engages in behavior deemed unacceptable by school and BOE policy (e.g., , creating disturbances, property damage, or insubordinate behavior of any kind) will be subject to consequences, including but not limited to suspension, community service, and/or not being allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony
Parents, staff, administration, including senior class advisors, have asked that these expectations be made clear. In working with you over the last year, I am confident you are responsible, respectful, and mature individuals who understand the rationale behind these expectations.
This has been an outstanding year with many fine accomplishments. We want your final days at Newtown High School, as well as your graduation, to end on a positive and dignified note. We are so very proud of each of you!
Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue