After a trying year-and-a-half of mostly remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Boston high school seniors will at least receive an iconic sendoff this spring.
Officials said Wednesday that Fenway Park will host commencement ceremonies this June for at least 16 of the 38 graduating high school classes in the Boston Public School system, in an effort to provide appropriately distanced outdoor space for the events amid the ongoing pandemic.
“Fenway Park is the perfect outdoor space in the heart of the city and large enough to host teachers, students, and their families in a safe manner,” Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy said in statement. “After such a challenging year, this important milestone is one that should be celebrated, and we are pleased to be able to offer our venue to help these seniors celebrate their achievements.”
The Red Sox had offered the opportunity to all BPS high schools, but some had already secured other outdoor venues around the city, team and city officials said. That said, according to a BPS spokesman, the number of schools that hold their commencement ceremonies at Fenway Park could increase from 16 as plans continue to be finalized.
Here’s the current list, per BPS:
- Charlestown High School
- William Henderson Inclusion School
- Boston Latin Academy
- Quincy Upper School
- Excel High School
- TechBoston Academy
- Another Course to College
- Snowden International school
- Dearborn STEM Academy
- The English High School
- Boston Green Academy
- Fenway High School
- John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
- Boston Latin School
- Brighton High School
- Boston Arts Academy
The graduation ceremonies will be held from June 7 to June 21 during both game days and non-game days, with as many as four different ceremonies at Fenway Park on a given day. According to the Red Sox, game-day commencement ceremonies will be scheduled in the mornings to give crews enough time to prepare Fenway Park for the evening matchups.
The plans call for seating both students and families in the park’s outdoor bleacher seats. It remains unclear what the will happen in the event of rain or inclement weather.
“We are working with the Red Sox on all logistics,” BPS spokesman Xavier Andrews said. “We’re very excited to celebrate our graduates in-person.”
The announcement Wednesday that it will host graduating high schoolers as well comes a day after Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration announced that all public high schools in Massachusetts will be required to resume in-person classes five days a week by May 17, unless they receive a waiver.
On Monday, BPS resumed full-time in-person learning for grades K-8 for the first time since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020; the district is still working on its plan to transition high school students from the current hybrid learning model to five days a week of in-person classes. And officials are set on ensuring that seniors will finish their high school experience with an in-person commencement ceremony.
After an “incredibly challenging junior and senior year,” BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said she was excited to “join graduates in-person this year,” including those who will receive their diplomas in the shadow of the Green Monster.
“We are so fortunate to have the continued support and partnership of the Boston Red Sox, and I am so thankful for their offer to provide many of our young Bostonians with this truly unique hometown experience,” Cassellius said.