LITTLETON — As Littleton High School nears its second graduation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, its senior class is firming up graduation plans and the class trip.
On Monday, LHS senior Class President Christian Demoras detailed the working plans to the Littleton School Board, following surveys sent out to his classmates on what they want.
One thing they won’t be doing is a senior prom.
Because proms traditionally involve the close person-to-person activity, there would have been no formal dancing this year because of health and safety guidelines against close contact, he said.
Initially planned was a prom involving entertainment instead of dancing, but a survey with a 65-percent senior class participation rate saw 85 percent of those students not voting to have a prom event, said Demoras.
“Our second major event is the class trip,” he said. “We had originally planned prior to COVID … a multi-day rafting trip to Maine. However, with COVID transpiring, we have proposed a class trip that is a single-day event and we have broken it up into two proposed parts to cater to a wider variety of student perspectives.”
The seniors surveyed, after the re-purposed prom committee began exploring four trip options, chose as their first choice trip a paintball tournament in Barnstead, N.H. on Thursday, May 20.
Runners up for the other half of that day are Chuckster’s Family Fun Park in Chichester or Mt. Sunapee Resort in Newbury.
“The entire class will go to two separate locations … with the second event tentatively being Chuckster’s,” said Demoras. “It’s a one-day event and the entire class would go to a set schedule of two attractions.”
Under state Department of Safety guidelines, school buses will likely provide transportation.
Graduation for the class of 52 seniors is planned for the morning of Saturday, June 5.
While the Class of 2020 held its graduation ceremony outside in the parking lot of the career and technical education center, the Class of 2021 is looking to revert to tradition and hold it inside the high school gym, albeit with restrictions.
Social distancing of at least six feet will be placed between cohorts of families on the gym floor and each student will receive four paper tickets for up to four family members who can attend, excluding the graduating senior.
Students with fewer than four family members attending can give extra tickets to classmates who have more than four family members wanting to attend graduation, a process that will be done through a formal attendance survey.
“Seniors will be socially distant, at least three-feet apart, on the stage,” said Demoras. “There will be limited speeches and formalities to decrease the time of the event.”
For student awards night on Thursday, June 3, graduates will be seated with their families in pods of five on the gym floor, with pods spaced six-feet apart.
School Board Member Matt St. John said the expectation now is that any adult over 18 who wants a vaccination can be vaccinated by June 5.
“I would hate to be in a position where, as we get closer to the event, there’s all this relaxation in standards and we’re adhering to this pod of four, which is going to be untenable for a lot of families,” he said. “How hard and fast do we need to hold to that rule right now? … Things might be much more relaxed by June and we could accommodate more family attendance.”
The current graduation plan is being planned around the health and safety guidelines that the school receives from the state, and LHS Principal Jennifer Carbonneau will monitor any changes in guidelines and adjust as appropriate, said Demoras.
“If those regulations are relaxed, we will appropriately adjust an increase in the number of tickets each senior would get,” he said.
St. John asked if graduation could be held outside to maximize attendance.
In the survey, the majority of the class voted to have graduation in the gymnasium as a way to be as traditional as possible, said Demoras, who noted other options less popular with graduating seniors included outside in the CTC parking lot, at Remich Park, and at other outdoor locations.
School Board Member Erica Antonucci thanked Demoras and the class for their plans.
“I feel like this is your time,” she said. “The surveys went out with all the feedback you received and it’s great. If the students want it this way, I’m in full support of that.”
Littleton School District SAU 84 Superintendent William Hart said the results of Demoras’ work have been impressive as he and the class navigated through some dicey waters and ended up with a solid and thoughtful proposal.
“This has been such a challenging year to be the president of a senior class and I think his leadership has been exceptional,” said Hart. “This could have been a very difficult situation and I think your leadership has made a big difference.”