Plans for 2021 WHS Graduation & PGP to be “Really, So Normal”

photo: Ema Whittaker

After a year of uncertainty, the Wilton High School Class of 2021 can finally look forward to the end-of-year events they have patiently waited for. Even better — the celebrations look very much like the ones that take place during a typical year-end commemoration, without the limits of most COVID-19 precautions.

The Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremony has officially been set for Saturday, June 12 at 1 p.m. on Fujitani Field, with a rain date of Sunday, June 13 at 1 p.m.

In the event of a forecast of midday rain that will clear by the afternoon, the ceremony’s start time will be shifted to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 12

In a letter emailed to seniors and their families on Friday afternoon, May 21, WHS Principal Dr. Robert O’Donnell thanked the Class of 2021 Graduation Committee for its work this year and provided details about this year’s proceedings. 

Based on current low COVID-19 case rates, the committee does not anticipate having to limit the number of guests in attendance. However, he asks that guests social-distance “to the extent possible” and wear masks.

O’Donnell plans to share more details on social-distancing and mask-wearing expectations as the date approaches but feels “very good that we will able to allow all the guests that graduates and families want to bring.”

Like last year’s car parade, this year’s ceremony will also be livestreamed on the Wilton High School TV YouTube page. The availability of a video of the ceremony is something O’Donnell anticipates might be an appealing option for out-of-state friends and family of graduates.

Although the low COVID-19 case and high vaccination rates leave O’Donnell feeling optimistic, he explained there is still a need to consider pandemic safety.

“Let’s just all hope for everybody’s health and welfare, that it just keeps going in the right direction which it seems to be right now,” he said, adding, “I’m so happy for our seniors, our students, our school community, our families, that we’re going to be able to host these events.”

WHS class of 2021 president Neil Satsangi spoke to GMW about how the graduation committee had to approach planning.

“With COVID, as I’ve learned this year, it’s important to be patient because a lot of stuff is outside of your control,” said Satsangi.

However, Satsangi explained that spirits are high for this year’s ceremony.

“A lot of members of the class of 2021 and myself are feeling optimistic and excited because for a long time this school year didn’t really look like normal end of the year events would be possible. We’re finally starting to get excited about celebrating the end of the year.”

And what about the Post Graduation Party (PGP), the drug- and alcohol-free, all-night celebration organized by parents (and sponsored by Wilton Youth Council) on graduation night? After months of not knowing whether the traditional event would be possible, PGP Chair Lynn Martines was happy to report that the planning process is in full swing

The event, which will be held at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, will be very familiar.

“It’s not really going to look that different from the past which is really nice,” said Martines.

Much like graduation, the only main difference is that guests will be required to wear masks.

Because of the facility’s size and the multiple amenities available for the graduates to enjoy, they will be able to fan out throughout Chelsea Piers’ three floors, and likely won’t be crowded too close together. Martines does not anticipate that chaperones will have any problems ensuring that members of the Class of 2021 are social-distancing and safe.

“We’re following guidelines that don’t even exist anymore,” she said.

But fun will also be the order of the all-night party. While the specific details of the event remain a surprise to students, Martines said they can expect it to be “really, so normal.”

She added that graduates can expect digital PGP invitations to arrive to their school email addresses.