Editor, Townsman:

Our daughter Monique is a class of 2020 soon-to-be graduate, and we’re worried that there will be no recognition of her class' accomplishments.

We’ve spoken to numerous parents who seem to hope that a later graduation date at the Tsongas arena, in July or some other period, will work instead of the current time. But, in reading the news (social distancing to last six more months, sports to open with no fans through the summer), it's becoming clear that this will not be a possibility.

If the Boston Celtics are going to play with no fans, how can we allow parents and families into the Tsongas arena? It doesn't make sense.

This year’s kids have suffered enough.

For my family, Monique was a starting varsity soccer player, a senior, but EEE took away that joy. Games were posted at times that parents simply couldn't attend due to work commitments. The joy and beauty of the senior year was lost. 

We, in Shawsheen, also suffered the gas explosions. Lastly, we now face COVID-19.

The class of 2020 simply hasn't had it easy.

Let’s instead make what we can of this. We envision a graduation at a location — maybe the high school stadium — where chairs will be arrayed in a safely distanced manner.  Much like the proposed sports to come, which will have athletes playing, but no fans, the graduating class could be arrayed together, safely distanced, as their names are called, and cheered on by their friends.

While not ideal, i.e. parents will miss the big show, it gets the kids to celebrate the event in a way that is guaranteed to happen, as opposed to leaving all hopes for a Tsongas arena event that may not be allowed. 

Further, some kids might even see it as "more special" because the graduation is in their hometown, much like the ones we've probably all had, and have gone by the wayside for communities like Andover.

Danny and Laurie O'Toole



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