Dear Guardians and Seniors,
With the start of the fourth quarter, excitement for the Class of 2021 is building, and plans for a memorable conclusion are in full motion in spite of the limitations presented by the global pandemic. This letter contains important details about the final leg of your student’s public education journey. It is critical you carefully review this information together with your student. Further, it is entirely possible this information will be updated as we see movement in health metrics for our county. Please know that we will communicate any adjustments as soon as we are able.
This year, activities have been condensed to as few dates and times as possible. For those of you who are seasoned parents of former CHS graduates, you will notice that many of our traditional activities have understandably been tweaked to fit our current state. Please read these contents with fresh eyes and then add these dates to your family calendar. A full description of each event follows the quick reference timeline below.
Masks are required at all events and safe physical distancing is to be observed.
May 1 Naviance Survey Opens - Online
May 7 Naviance Survey Closes - Online
Requests to be excused from graduation rehearsal are due
May 15 Senior Activity Day - Red Out!
8:30am-10:00am Graduation Rehearsal - Stadium
8:30am-2:30pm Materials Drop-off/Pick-up of Cap, Gown, Regalia - Parking Lot
11:00am-2:00pm PTSA Carnival - Playing Fields, Stadium, Parking Lots
May 15 Red Carpet Awards - Stadium
7:30pm-8:00pm Arrival and Red Carpet Photo Ops
8:00pm-10:00pm Awards presentation and performances - no entry after 8:30pm
May 28 Last Full Day for Seniors
School materials and technology due by 3:30pm.
June 2 Graduation - Merriweather Post Pavilion
2:30pm Seniors report to Merriweather Post
3:00pm Commencement begins
Naviance Survey - DUE May 7
Your senior must complete a survey in Naviance that will provide the school with information about future plans, college acceptance, scholarship offers, and feedback on our counseling program. In addition, students will complete a required survey from the Maryland State Department of Education. The survey opens on May 1 and must be submitted by May 7.
Senior Activity Day, Saturday, May 15
May 15 will be a full day! All events during the day are for CHS Seniors ONLY. Guests for the evening Awards Ceremony will be limited. Students are asked to wear red during the graduation rehearsal and Carnival to show their senior spirit.
Graduation Rehearsal (8:30-10:00am): This is our one and only chance to review the procedures for the big day so all students who are planning to graduate in person should attend. Any student who is unable to be present must submit a written notice to be excused to me by May 7.
Materials Return/Cap, Gown, Regalia Distribution (8:30-2:30): We will begin the process of collecting all school-owned supplies and materials from seniors. Students should bring their materials, labeled with their name and issuing teacher, and deposit them in the containers marked by department outside of the auditorium entrance. We recognize that students may need to hold on to some items until the last day of school for seniors on May 28. Therefore, seniors may return any remaining materials at any time during regular school hours throughout the week of May 24. All materials are due by 3:30pm on May 28.
We will distribute caps, gowns, and regalia from 10:00-2:30. Students will be able to pick up their items as they leave campus to prepare for the evening Red Carpet event.
PTSA Carnival - RED OUT! (10:00-2:00): The PTSA will be sponsoring a day of lawn games, laser tag, and more! During this event, only bottled water (no food) will be provided and students should not bring their own refreshments. All activities will be structured to ensure CDC safety and sanitation guidelines and precautions are in place.
Senior Awards Ceremony - Red Carpet Evening of Excellence (7:30-10:00pm): We would like all seniors to attend this special event. In addition to awards, live musical performances and speeches by classmates will be a part of the program. Each family will be mailed two numbered tickets for parents/guardians to attend in person if desired for bleacher seating. Though all are welcome to join us, special notification will be sent via email to guardians of seniors who will be specifically recognized no later than Friday, May 7. Seniors will be seated on the field and will be able to claim awards, certificates, or other items during the program. Please note, in order to ensure all who are present can enjoy the show, the gate will be closed at 8:30pm.
For those who wish to view the presentation safely from home, it will be posted and streamed via YouTube at about 8:15pm on May 15. This will be a pre-recorded presentation and will not include the live performances taking place in the stadium. However, we will record those aspects of the program and add them to the posted video as ‘bonus material’ for viewing at a later date.
Graduation, Wednesday, June 2 at 3:00pm
Our commencement ceremony will take place at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The ceremony will begin at 3:00pm. Students should arrive no later than 2:30pm in order to get in line for the processional. More details about Graduation, including parking and seating information, will be sent in the coming weeks.
Tickets: Each family will receive two guest tickets to attend the graduation in person. This allotment will be revisited as the CDC and Howard County Health Department adjust the guidelines for gatherings based on metric fluctuations. In rare and unique circumstances, we may be able to issue additional tickets to parents/guardians of students who live in dual families. These requests and details about the surrounding circumstances must be submitted to me in writing.
Special Seating: A Special Seating Request Form for disabled guests is available in the front office and on our school website. To accommodate the seating needs of your guest, the form is to be submitted to the front office or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 7.
Virtual Option: Students who wish to participate in the graduation ceremony virtually have already submitted their intentions via the Graduation RSVP survey that was due on April 20. If you need to make changes to your RSVP, please contact Susan Helmrath (email@example.com).
Permanent Employees of HCPSS: Names of Parents/Guardians of graduating students who are permanent employees of HCPSS (this does not include substitute teachers or classroom monitors) have already been submitted to us via the student RSVP. Mrs. Aballo will confirm this information with you. If you haven’t heard from her by Friday, April 30, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to monitor your senior’s attendance and grades through the end of the year. Seniors must complete all required courses by sitting for final exams. Failure to do so will result in ineligibility to participate in the graduation ceremony. To be clear, students are invited to participate in the graduation ceremony ONLY if they have completed ALL requirements for graduation.
We are aware that a number of families have planned to hold, or will be allowing their students to attend, what I have coined ‘Pop-up Proms.’ These events have the potential to impact others if an outbreak of COVID-19 results. We know you will do all you can to protect your own children. If your student participates in one of these non-school sponsored soirées, we ask that you also take steps to protect other children by keeping your student away from gatherings until you are sure they are not a source of possible transmission. For example, if your student attends a potential ‘super spreader event’ like an unsanctioned prom-like event within 5-10 days of May 15, they should not attend the senior events. In that way you would be protecting others, which is the right thing to do.
Students are reminded that all school rules and school system policies are in effect at all senior events. Historically, some students have made serious errors in judgment relating to ‘senior pranks’ - errors that have led to their exclusion from graduation. Please caution your child to make good decisions and choices. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call. We look forward to sharing this memorable experience with you and your student.
Cynthia B. Dillon, Principal