One after the other, cars carrying Montpelier High School’s graduating seniors drove by the front of Montpelier High School through a receiving line of cheering teachers June 6.
“This is the last opportunity for the teachers to see seniors for the last time,” said Principal Renee DeVore. DeVore sat in a folding chair under a brilliant sun until cars carrying students pulled near. Then, she stood up and sounded an air horn with one hand while she wildly waved a green-and-white cheerleader pompom with the other hand. A retinue of faculty and staff joined in, forming a joyful receiving line on both sides of the driveway in front of the school.
One car carrying seniors Mandy Abu Aziz and Mary Ann Songhurst pulled around to whoops, cheers, waving pompoms, and music blaring from a large speaker. Abu Aziz’s Teacher Advisor, Kerrin McCadden presented them with their caps, gowns, a homemade mask, and a warm greeting before they drove off. Next came Mallory Belleville with her mother, Sharyn. Mallory, too, received her cap, gown, and a mask. Then came a car full of students and a dog. Azwayla Taylor, Bella Luhr, and Grace Valentine, along with a dog named Bean pulled through the line. DeVore said the reception of cheers and teachers had been kept a secret from seniors, who simply expected to pick up their caps and gowns.
The smiles on the faces of everyone who were not masked demonstrated that the school’s efforts to celebrate these seniors were not in vain.
Senior Advisor Kim Kidney said the rest of the graduation ceremony will be conducted over the course of next week. “Everyone is getting their own 10-minute graduation with family,” Kidney said. Each graduating senior will arrive for a pre-arranged 10-minute slot. They will walk across the stage and receive a diploma. The process will be recorded on video. Then, Onion River Community Access Media will splice it all together in one sequence. The final video, along with speeches and other ceremonial activities, will be presented on the MHS website, YouTube, and on the District@MRPSVT Facebook page on June 12 from 6 to 7:30 pm. The video will remain posted, so it can be viewed at a later date.