Maranacook Community High School seniors put on their mortar boards before marching into graduation ceremonies in Readfield on June 9, 2019. This year, seniors will graduate in 10 separate ceremonies over the course of the weekend, allowing them to have in-person graduations. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Over the course of the weekend, Maranacook Community High School will say goodbye to its seniors.

Unlike most years, though, the graduation celebration for the Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38 school district will unfold over the course of two days. Five graduation events are scheduled for Saturday, with another five planned for Sunday.

The ceremonies will be spread out in two-hour blocks, starting at 10 a.m. each day at the high school.

Principal Dwayne Conway said the school settled on the smaller ceremonies to keep attendance below the 50-person threshold set forth in an executive order from Gov. Janet Mills intended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“They are mini-graduations; ‘mini’ in terms of numbers and attendance,” he said. “We usually have around 1,200 people and obviously we can’t do that.”

The ceremonies have been divided up based on the student advisee groups that are a cornerstone of a Maranacook education.

“So they’ll graduate with the group (of classmates) they’ve been with for four years,” said Conway. “One of the things that will be different this year, too, is the advisors will have a way to address the kids (they have advised) as a whole, to let them know what the kids have meant to them.

“When you have 10 advisors and 100 kids and their families (at a typical graduation), we haven’t been able to do that,” he added.

While all members of the class will not be at the same ceremony, all will include the same elements.

“There will be the same speeches and pomp and circumstance,” Conway said. “We’re giving graduation the same attention to detail as we do every year.

“We’re really working hard to make sure it’s special for each student and their family,” he added. “At the end of the two days, we want to have had 10 amazing graduations.”

Conway and RSU 38 Superintendent Jay Charette will speak, and there also will be a recorded student speech. Valedictorian Emma Haganaars and Salutatorian Nina Gyorgy will speak in person at all 10 ceremonies.

“They have asked to be at each graduation,” Conway said of Haganaars and Gyorgy, “so they will be doing that live.”

In addition to the smaller-sized ceremonies, another notable change for the festivities this year will be a senior slideshow of photos that is usually part of an awards night.

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