Richmond high school seniors wrapping up their final year of high school will celebrate with an unusual graduation.

This year, school district officials have planned an outdoor ceremony at Richmond High School to ensure the rite of passage for the school’s 38 prospective graduates is safe for the students, their families and school staff.

Maine’s public health restrictions to protect against the spread of coronavirus remain in place, but strict limits on public gatherings have been relaxed. Starting June 1, gatherings of up to 50 people are now allowed.

Richmond High School is one of three high schools in Regional School Unit 2; the other two are Hall-Dale High School and Monmouth Academy.

Mary Paine, the district’s acting superintendent, said the RSU 2’s preparations for alternate graduations have been extensive.

“The show of dedication to our graduates from our principals, buildings and grounds, technology department, teachers and parents has been heartwarming during this sometimes heartbreaking time we are in,” she said via email.


Richmond High School Principal Karl Matulis said via email that the graduating class is small enough for them to graduate in person as a group with some restrictions in place. Seniors will march in and be seated while wearing masks, he said.

Banners with pictures of members of the Richmond High School Class of 2020 are seen hanging on light posts Wednesday along Main Street in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The 4 p.m. ceremony will follow the traditions of having addresses by salutatorian Spencer Soule and valedictorian Abigail Johnson, and Matulis is also expected to deliver opening and closing remarks.

“We will have a Plexiglass barrier on stage so that they may remove their masks while receiving their diploma,” Matulis said. “We will also have a small area up front so that family members may come up and take pictures when it is their graduate’s turn on stage.”

District officials are limiting attendance by issuing tickets to families who will be able to watch from their vehicles. Other than taking pictures, family members are asked to remain in their vehicles.

Matulis said senior members of the Richmond High School Madigrals are expected to perform two songs with appropriate social distancing.

For those who want to see the ceremony but can’t attend, the school has set up a YouTube link where the graduation will be live-streamed.

Following graduation, at about 5:30 p.m., graduates are expected to line up on Main Street where passersby can drive by, wave and cheer on the graduates. The goal is to maintain appropriate social distances and avoid crowds.

In the event of inclement weather, the graduation will take place Sunday, June 7.


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