Graduation Update – Week of April 27, 2021

Significant Changes Affecting Graduation and Rehearsal are Explained Below

Please Read the Following Important Information Very Carefully

1. WED. JUNE 23, 2021 — We are happy to announce that, in partnership with Schenectady County and its Special Events Staff, our Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremony will take place at the Schenectady County Community College Parking Area on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 beginning at 6:00 pm. This venue will allow us to present an in-person ceremony with our entire Class of 2021 present, accompanied by our faculty and administration. Of course, we will be required to adhere to the safety protocols in effect at that time. Those protocols were outlined to us by Schenectady County Health Officials on April 27th as they received directives from the State Health Department. The specific directives that we were given are as follows:

Every individual who attends the graduation ceremony (this includes, graduates, faculty, administration, parents and guests) MUST PROVIDE THE HIGH SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION WITH EITHER PROOF OF BEING VACCINATED OR PROOF OF HAVING BEEN TESTED NEGATIVE WITHIN 72 HOURS OF THE CEREMONY. A Google form will be sent electronically to every graduate, their family and the other attendees mentioned above. This is an absolute must!

The State Health Department has now limited our ceremony to 1500 guests and we must provide socially distanced seating for each individual. Therefore, we are required to issue an admission ticket to each individual in attendance. We will be limiting the number of tickets per graduate to four. We will make every effort to accommodate special requests for a limited number of additional tickets on a first come, first served basis. Any request for additional tickets MUST BE EMAILED TO VINCE BIANCHI AT vbianchi@niskyschools.org This will be the only method of accepting requests for additional tickets that we will honor.

The ceremony will pretty much follow the traditional Niskayuna High School Graduation program of years past. We are awaiting permission to include live
student musical participation. The induction of our newest member of the Hall of Fame and comments from our Class Officers and Administrators will be a part of our program. We will have a LARGE LED video screen, mounted 20’ in the air, providing enhanced viewing of the proceedings and we will also be live streaming the ceremony on our Niskayuna network and YouTube. This will allow family and friends to watch the ceremony from home as it happens. The event is being produced with the expertise and professionalism of the Events Staff of Schenectady County and several of their partners who have staged many outdoor public events in Schenectady. Because of health and safety restrictions and participant limitations, Schenectady County Officials and our own administration highly recommend that the elderly and individuals having difficulty walking should plan on viewing the ceremony from home. We wish that you understand that our goal is to provide the Class of 2021 the opportunity to celebrate their graduation together with their classmates. Our focus is on having the students enjoy this important time in their life together. We thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation. Vehicle Traffic will be directed in a one-way direction only. Entrance to the SCCC Parking Area will only be allowed via the off ramp from the Western Gateway Bridge that leads directly to the area. When exiting the event, you will be directed onto Washington Avenue and then to State St. or I-890. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT NO ONE MAY BE ADMITTED TO THE CEREMONY SITE WITHOUT A TICKET AND PROOF OF VACCINATION OR NEGATIVE COVID TEST.

2. GRADUATION REHEARSAL — MONDAY, JUNE 21ST. Will now be held on the high school football field beginning at 10:00 am. All seniors are asked to attend. We should be finished with rehearsal by noon.

3. THURS. JUNE 24, 2021 – Virtual Senior Celebration Event — Also, we are excited to announce our return to the Malta Drive-In Theater for the screening of the Virtual Production of The Class of 2021 Graduation Celebration! We will debut the screening on Thursday, June 24, 2021 beginning at 9:00 pm. This was a huge success last year and we promise that it will be even better this year. In addition to the individual photos and videos that the graduates will provide, we will also screen the always popular and emotional Senior Slideshow. This year, we also are planning a few surprises that we hope will bring a sense of joy and affection to our seniors who have bravely and heroically endured a most difficult senior year. This is also a great opportunity for the family of each graduate to share in the enjoyment of the celebration, especially this year. So, please plan to bring a carload of your family to the drive-in on the 24th. You will be in for a special evening! Of course, the Virtual Celebration will be live streamed on the Niskayuna Network and YouTube so that extended family and friends can also enjoy the show. An admission ticket will be required for this event. The ticket will be provided to the graduate at the time that they pick up their cap and gowns. (see #4 below).

4. MON. AND TUES. MAY 24 AND 25, 2021 – DISTRIBUTION OF CAP AND GOWNS, ETC.
On Monday and Tuesday, May 24th and 25th, beginning at 2:15 pm, we will distribute the following graduation-related items to our graduates via a drive-thru format. As the seniors drive thru, they will receive a commemorative facemask from the High School PTO and a lawn sign from the High School Administration. They will then receive their cap and gown and an envelope that will include their ticket for entry to the Malta Drive-In. Gold cords, indicating the student is a winner of a Medal of Academic Excellence and/or a Medal of Excellence, will also be distributed at this time. Members of the National Honor Society will receive their gold tassel. The actual Medal of Academic Excellence, Medal of Excellence and Principal’s Medal will be awarded to the winners at the Senior Awards Ceremony scheduled for June 3rd at 7:00 pm. It should be noted that Students are asked to enter the campus from the Nott Street East entrance and drive around to the front bus loop, near the flagpole. We will greet each student by name as they arrive. We are doing this on two different days to accommodate the split (A,B) schedule that we have followed this year. Students may choose either day to drive-thru (or walk through). If you ordered a custom lawn sign, that sign will be mailed to your home directly by the sign company

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: We respectfully ask that our seniors adhere to the following rules regarding the Graduation Ceremony.

Girls are asked to wear dress clothing attire, dress shoes or sandals under their cap and gown.

Boys are asked to wear long trousers (no blue jeans), a dress shirt, tie (optional), socks and shoes under their cap and gown.

Please be sure to try on your cap and gown as soon as you get them. If there is a problem with fit, please let Mr. Bianchi know immediately.

Those seniors who win Medals of Excellence and/or Academic Excellence will be presented with a gold cord while members of the National Honor Society will be given a gold tassel. You will receive directions on how to wear these cords, medals, and tassels at the time you pick up your cap and gown.

ARRIVAL TIME: Graduates are to arrive no later than 5:15 p.m. and be prepared to line-up, as in rehearsal, by 5:30 p.m. sharp! Please be prompt. Please take into account that traffic will be quite heavy at that time of day and access to the Parking Area will be limited to one-way traffic as described at the top of this document.

In these very fast changing times, there may be the need to change some of the details that have been outlined in this document. We urge you to frequently visit the Senior Central webpage that will be updated as often as possible for the very latest information. You can access the website by going to the high school webpage, scrolling down on the left-hand side of the page and clicking on the link titled “Senior Central”.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact Mr. Rickert or Mr. Bianchi at the high school.