Revere High School seniors were poised to walk across the stage on Tuesday evening and finally pick up their diplomas at Harry Della Russo Stadium, but a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Revere put the breaks on the planned in-person graduation.
During an emergency press conference last Thursday, Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo and public health officials made the painful decision to pull the plug on the planned graduation as well as other planned city events.
However, the Revere Public Schools and the City of Revere honored the Class of 2020 with a car parade past City Hall on Broadway for the 405 graduates that are part of the RHS graduating class.
While Pomp and Circumstance played over a loudspeaker outside City Hall each senior was able to pull their car up to the front of City Hall, hear their name called and walk across a makeshift stage and receive their diploma while having their picture taken.
The entire event was live streamed on RevereTV and hundreds tuned in to watch friends and loved ones finally receive their diplomas.
“Despite our inability to host our planned graduation ceremony, we hope this alternate plan will help the class of 2020 understand how very proud we are of their accomplishments,” said RPS Superintendent Dianne Kelly. “Nothing has been easy during COVID, and many plans have changed repeatedly, but that does not diminish the achievements of these students nor the bright futures they have in store. Many will move on to college or the military or jobs in ways that are also different than what they and their families envisioned. But we know they have prepared well and their families and teachers have supported them through their high school careers to ensure their success going forward. We wish them all the very best in life.”
Mayor Arrigo, who also chairs the Revere School Committee said the recent increase in those testing positive for COVID-19 in Revere was the main reason for cancelling the in-person graduation. The Mayor said he could not have, in good conscience, allowed a 1,500 in-person graduation ceremony at Harry Della Russo Stadium as virus cases increase.
Over the past two weeks, the city of Revere has seen its daily new case average triple, as testing has increased by 55 percent. The City’s positive test rate is above six percent for the second consecutive week, nearly triple the State’s one-week average. Revere’s positive test rate hovered around 3 or 3.5 percent all summer.
However, RHS Principal Dr, John Perella said, despite not being the most ideal graduation or the graduation RHS seniors wanted or deserved, he was happy the city was able to provide something special for the departing class.
“Today we finally bestow diploma’s to our graduating seniors,” said Dr. Perella yesterday afternoon before the car parade began. “I want to thank them for their patience, understanding, and most of all their incredible adaptability. Congratulations Class of 2020. You have respect, my hopes, and my admiration.”