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Parents push for safe graduation day for high school seniors across CT


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — Parents across the state are petitioning Governor Ned Lamont to allow high schools to host a same-day graduation ceremony for all seniors.

“I was like, we cannot let our kids graduate on a computer, it just doesn’t feel right,” organizer and dad Michael Riccio said.

A virtual video was released on the Facebook Group CT 2020 High School Grads, urging other parents to take notice.

It showed empty classrooms and celebrity speakers from the last graduation ceremonies at Connecticut universities. 

“This is not a protest, these are not angry parents, these are concerned parents excited to participate and make this a really special day for their kids,” Riccio continued.

 As of Thursday night, their petition has garnered about 1,700 signatures and the Facebook group 1,000 members.

“That is a time that older children remember so well,” said Guilford mom Stacy Calcagni. “Spring, senior year so I just think it would be wonderful for them to have that opportunity.”

 Calcagni’s daughter, Ava, is a senior at Guilford High School and is headed to the University of Maryland.

 She feels she cannot go forward without acknowledging her past.

“I don’t know, just like getting that excitement and like that closure and something we’ve been working so hard for, for so long,” Ava said.

Organizers want to have this day done right.

 If they get the green light, this is what they say needs to happen:

  • The ceremony must be held on a football field, athletic field or large municipal space.
  • There will be an entrance point and an exit point.
  • Students are allowed two guests, others will watch from a virtual stream.
  • Guests must be wearing masks and hand sanitizer will be provided before entering.
  • Guests must adhere to social distance guidelines.
  • Only water bottles allowed in.

The governor gave a hopeful response when asked about the idea during Monday’s press briefing.

He said, “It seems like an interesting idea we frown on big mass gatherings but you describe something that may be an ingenious way to have a nice end to their senior year of high school, so let me think about that.”

Parents want graduation to happen on June 22 and each consecutive day would be a rain date or any Monday in July; the governor can choose.

Those wanting to sign the petition can do so online.

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