June 10, 2020

Pomp and Circumstance and Much More On Tap for PHS Virtual Graduation Ceremony

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton High School (PHS) will be celebrating its 92nd commencement next Tuesday, June 16, with orchestral and vocal music; speeches by students, teachers, and administrators; and the presentation of diplomas to 353 students graduating in their caps and gowns.

It’s the school’s history-making, first-ever virtual graduation, and PHS is making the most of the power of electronics to create an event that goes beyond the possibilities of any normal year in-person event.

More than 300 of the degree recipients returned (with appropriate social distancing) toPHS in recent weeks to do in-person videos in their graduation regalia. Included in the ceremony presentation will also be additional photos and videos uploaded from home. Rumor has it, according to a PPS press release, that there will be two cameo appearances by celebrities who graduated from PHS in the past.

Jessica Baxter, who took over as PHS principal last summer, will be one of several speakers to address the graduates, along with Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane.  And for the finale, there will be a “turning of the tassels” video montage following the presentation of the diplomas.

Cochrane, who will be retiring on June 30, noted his pride in having “the extraordinary privilege of essentially ‘graduating’ with this class.” He emphasized the unusual historic circumstances surrounding this year’s graduation. “There has been a lot of hardship and uncertainty this year, but there have also been many moments when our students, our principals, and our teachers have done things that have truly inspired me as an educational leader. I hope the seniors and their families can come together on Tuesday night and celebrate. This is a milestone in their lives they will never forget.”

He added, “Jessica Baxter has shown creativity, care, and an unshakeable focus on students in her first year as principal of Princeton High School, and this virtual graduation is no exception.”

Parents will receive an email with the viewing options and a link that will be available on June 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Cochrane continued in his praise of the graduates.  “I am proud of all they have accomplished as individuals, but I am prouder still of what they have accomplished together,” he said.  “They have shown remarkable resiliency, joy, and purpose in the face of a global pandemic, and they have united in support of one another and our community. I look forward to watching them come together in the years ahead to continue to positively impact our world.”