Niagara Falls graduates have a month to call their own

James Niess/Staff photographerExcited Niagara Falls High School graduates enter the main arena at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls in 2015 for the 15th annual commencement ceremony. This year's celebration is taking place throughout the month of June due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino and the City Council have proclaimed the month of June as 'Graduates Month' in the city.

The resolution acknowledges that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 has been deprived of traditional rites of passage such as graduations, proms and other pomp and circumstance, yet the graduates have shown strength in the midst of their disappointment:

“Niagara Falls has proven itself to be a resilient community, and our students are an integral part of that resiliency as they continue to demonstrate both the strength and the will to persevere during this extraordinary time,” states the proclamation. It continues: “The most effective way to recognize our student graduates is through everyone’s active participation and acknowledgement of their commitment and achievements.”

Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Mark Laurrie thanked Restaino and the council for appreciating the Class of 2020 and its special attributes through Graduates Month.

“There is a special group of city residents who can hold their heads high – the Niagara Falls High School graduating class of 2020,” said Restaino. “This group of young men and women have stood strong, adapted to the circumstances and have distinguished themselves as graduates of special distinction. I am proud of them and join my fellow city officials in paying special recognition to a special group of graduates for their outstanding character. I wish all the best to the class of 2020.”

“There is a maturity in this class that is spectacular,” said Laurrie. “Facing this disappointment and the graduates’ subsequent acceptance of it shows they are ready to take on the future.”

The Proclamation also calls on the entire community to take part in celebrating Niagara Falls’ graduating students.

A graduation procession for senior will be held on Saturday, June 27, according to Laurrie.

“They’re going to start at the field house and process down to our art wing doors where they’ll get their diplomas. Speeches will be taped prior to and they will be able to hear them before," he said. "We’ll hear the speeches virtually and we’ll have a graduation on campus.”

The rain date for graduation will be June 28. That evening, Niagara Falls will be lit blue and gold to honor the students.

On June 13, there will be a class parade that will start at Niagara University and go throughout the whole city. It will be running past several schools in the district. They can decorate their cars and there will be contest about the kookiest car.

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