Johnston High's Class of 2021 graduates tonight

By RORY SCHULER
Posted 6/18/21

Around 210 members of the Johnston High School Class of 2021 are expected to graduate Friday night, June 18.

The graduating high school seniors rode in a parade the night before, Thursday, June …

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Johnston High's Class of 2021 graduates tonight

Posted

Around 210 members of the Johnston High School Class of 2021 are expected to graduate Friday night, June 18.

The graduating high school seniors rode in a parade the night before, Thursday, June 17.

The parade was originally scheduled to start Friday night, but was moved to Thursday as commencement plans evolved.

"The senior parade is now on Thursday night, and kicks off at 6:30 at North Woods Office Park," said Johnston Schools Superintendent Dr. Bernard DiLullo Jr. "The students will walk north on Atwood Avenue to Johnston High School, and all end up in the high school parking lot."

Food trucks will welcome the Class of 2021 in the parking lot.

"The students can purchase food and socialize," DiLullo said.

The parade is expected to last about an hour.

Graduation will still be held Friday night, June 18, and is expected to start at 6:30 at Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Athletic Complex.

Planners expect to hold the traditional commencement ceremony outdoors. The event will include the school band and chorus, DiLullo said.

"Students will receive their diplomas on stage," he added.

The school administration said early this spring that graduation plans would have to be fluid, and subject to change, since Covid restrictions had just started to loosen.

Students' families will still be restricted to just four guests, but since the events will be outdoors, masks will no longer be mandatory.

"Right now, there are no mask requirements for the graduation," DiLullo said Wednesday. "But we will still be doing symptom screening."

The graduating class will sit together, but each seat will be socially distanced several feet apart.

"I have to say the Johnston community really did band together to make this year possible," DiLullo said. "Teachers, parents, students, and administrators have had to do a lot of pivoting and extra support was needed for everyone involved. We'll be looking forward to a normal year next year, hopefully."

The school department formed a graduation committee this year, aimed at planning the best possible event under evolving pandemic circumstances.

This year, if the weather refuses to cooperate, a rain date has been set for the following day, Saturday, June 19, the time to be determined.

Other traditional senior class events have also evolved with the tumultuous times.

The senior class, in lieu of prom, held a cookout at Twelve Acres in Smithfield Wednesday night of graduation week.

Last year, the Class of 2020 marched in the opposite direction, and the drive-in style commencement featured a video tribute displayed on two large screens.

This year, the parade will end at the Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Athletic Complex and the distribution of diplomas should be more traditional.

Attendees will undergo a screening process, checking for Covid symptoms, but DiLullo said the screening will not include temperature checks.

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