Students “Deserve” In-Person Graduation, Neshaminy School Board Pres. Says

Graduating Neshaminy High School students may have an in-person commencement ceremony after all.

Neshaminy School Board President Stephen Pirritano sent out a letter Wednesday saying they have three potential dates in mind.

The graduation could be June 27, August 1, or September 5. Which date they choose depends on when state and CDC restrictions are lifted.

Pirritano says seniors “deserve” an in-person graduation ceremony.

“There is no reason why this shouldn’t take place!” said Pirritano.

“So much has been taken from them this year. Let’s not let this traditional end to the high school experience be stolen from them also.”

In the letter, he noted the ceremony would have safety modifications. However, Pirritano did not elaborate on what these modifications would be.

The school board president also says he has the approval of State Reps Frank Farry and Tina Davis, and State Senator Tommy Tomlinson.

However, Bucks County will only enter the yellow phase of Governor Tom Wolf’s reopen plan on June 5. There is no information on when Bucks may enter the green phase, which allows for large social gatherings.

Pirritano is asking the Neshaminy community to reach out to the Wolf Administration and “demand” they allow schools to have in-person ceremonies.

“Please take the time to call or email the Governor and the Secretary of Education and demand that they allow schools to conduct in-person graduation ceremonies NOW!”

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy announced in-person graduations can take place beginning on July 6. His administration is still ironing out the details.

The garden state has seen more than 150,000 positive cases of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon. Pennsylvania has less than half at about 70,000.

Pirritano’s full letter is below:

Dear Neshaminy Community,

Our seniors, the Class of 2020, deserve an in-person graduation ceremony. So much has been taken from them this year. Let’s not let this traditional end to the high school experience be stolen from them also.

Neshaminy is poised to have a traditional graduation ceremony (with safety modifications). We have three dates scheduled, but the one that works best for the majority of our seniors is June 27th.

There is no reason why this shouldn’t take place! Before our graduating seniors with military commitments leave us, before our seniors with higher educational commitments leave us, before something else interferes with all of our seniors celebrating this accomplishment together, we want to be able to gather for this special occasion. Our administrators, teachers and staff are ready to ensure a successful program. The Neshaminy Community is ready to celebrate!

I have personally spoken with Rep. Frank Farry and Rep. Tina Davis and with Sen. Tomlinson’s office staff. All have indicated support. The only thing that is standing in our seniors’ way is the Governor.

Please take the time to call or email the Governor and the Secretary of Education and demand that they allow schools to conduct in-person graduation ceremonies NOW!

We can do this safely and securely. Our seniors deserve this.

Regards,
Stephen Pirritano
Neshaminy School District
Board President

CONTACT INFORMATION

Governor Tom Wolf Office
Phone: 717-787-2500
Email: govcorrespcrm@pa.gov
Online Form: https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#OnlineForm

Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera
Phone: 717-783-6788
Email: ra-educationsecretary@pa.gov
Online Form: https://expressforms.pa.gov/apps/pa/education/contact-us