GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Graduation ceremonies throughout the Capital Region have had to make changes this year. But for one local school district, the limitations on who could attend the ceremony did not sit will with some students and their families.
The Gloversville High School graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 was a little different this year as graduates gathered at the Park Terrace School without friends and family members in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Graduate Hayden Rulsion said it was a challenging time without the support of family in the stands.
“This is one of the most important days of our life, and it is kinda hard to not share it with the people closest to us,” she said. “While it was nice to have friends there, I mean, I love these guys, but we’re not doing it for them; we are doing it for us and our family, and it’s an accomplishment that we can share with our family for the rest of our lives. And to not have them there was kinda stressful and kinda hard.”
A small group of friends and family members gathered in the parking lot in hopes of seeing their graduates receive their diplomas as well as to show their anger and disappointment in the school district’s decision.
According to Erica Blowers, a mother of one of the 143 graduates, believes that having the whole family in attendance was something that was important to her son and the rest of the students.
“My son’s very upset,” she said. “He got to graduate with his friends, but he would have loved to have his family here. I know we definitely feel like we got jipped out of a lot.”
NEWS10 ABC reached out to the school district for comment. Superintendent David Halloran released the following statement:
“The district understands that our plans may not meet everyone’s expectations. It’s been a challenging year and it’s hard to please all. That said, with COVID-19 exposure reports still occurring at other districts’ graduation events, we are very comfortable with our efforts and plans to ensure a meaningful experience for our graduates of 2020. We are proud that we have been accommodating while maintaining stringent safety plans for all of our commencement celebrations.
All graduating students were recorded receiving their diplomas in our auditorium over three full days in June. Their parents/guardians were allowed to be a part of this intimate event as they witnessed the awarding of the diploma from approximately 15 feet away. The diploma ceremony scheduled for tomorrow, June 10th, meets the majority of the class’s clear desire to be together one last time, and the virtual ceremony on the 20th will be an excellent opportunity for students to share in the event with family and friends in a safe and responsible manner. The virtual ceremony will conclude our celebration of the class of 2020. They have been a grateful, classy group of young men and women and we are proud to call them Gloversville alumni.”
The district said a virtual ceremony will be available for family members on June 20 at the Ozoner Drive-In theater located in Broadalbin.