Special ceremony for a special class

A letter from the Principal regarding the 136th Port Cheser High School Commencement

Dear Members of the Class of 2020 and Your Families:

Congratulations on reaching the milestone of high school graduation!  You have faced obstacles this year like no other class in Port Chester history.  To us, the Class of 2020 will always be unforgettable and historic.

And, so your commencement exercises should be as well.  Though limits to the size of gatherings at this time will not allow the entire class to gather at once, we have worked with you over the course of the last several weeks to plan a memorable and special graduation experience. 

For the first time at PCHS, graduating students will share the field with their parents in one of nine graduation ceremonies planned with you in mind.  Each graduate will be able to bring two guests with them onto the field for our special, socially-distanced graduation ceremonies.  Other family members can watch from the edge of the high school property or tune in on an electronic device to watch online from the best seat in the house once the ceremonies are completed.  We encourage you to make decisions as a family about what is safest and best for you.  Diplomas can be delivered to your home if you wish, instead of participating in one of the public ceremonies.

To space out the graduating class, you will be able to sign up for one of nine identical ceremonies.  These will take place according to the schedule below. 


Student Arrival Time

Beginning of Ceremony

End of Ceremony


9:40 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

10:25 a.m.


10:15 a.m.

10:35 a.m.

11:00 a.m.


10:50 a.m.

11:10 a.m.

11:35 a.m.


11:25 a.m.

11:45 a.m.

12:10 p.m.


1:10 p.m.

1:30 p.m.

1:55 p.m.


1:45 p.m.

2:05 p.m.

2:30 p.m.


2:20 p.m.

2:40 p.m.

3:05 p.m.


2:55 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

3:40 p.m.


3:30 p.m.

3:50 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

We will be sending you an Eventbrite invitation in the next day or two to your school email address for you to use to sign up for the ceremony of your choice.  In the meantime, please confer with your family and peers to choose a time that might work best for you and then follow the Eventbrite invitation link to register when you receive it.  The link is ONLY for members of the Class of 2020.

After choosing a ceremony time, complete the Eventbrite form to register yourself as the first ticket holder and then register your parents for up to two more seats.  These are household members who will share your space on the field during your ceremony.  Please email your counselor if you have special circumstances that require an additional guest (a step-parent).  If you do not need to use all of your guest spots, then order only the number of tickets you need. Please register for one of the nine ceremonies at your earliest convenience, since a maximum of 132 attendees will be able to attend each ceremony (44 students with 2 guests each).

On June 23rd, along with your cap and gown, you will be receiving a special commemorative facemask that you will be asked to wear during the ceremony, except when you are receiving your diploma.  All of your guests must arrive with a mask or face covering and wear it whenever in public, per State Department of Health regulations.  In addition, no one who is sick with a fever, shortness of breath, headaches, coughing, loss of the sense of smell or taste, or other symptoms of a possibly communicable illness should come to any graduation ceremony.

On the day of the ceremony, park with your family on a street near the high school (or get a ride) and then walk to the Flag Plaza to be directed where you need to go before your ceremony begins.  Remember to arrive at least 20 minutes early for your ceremony.  Don’t forget your cap, gown, mask, and any cords or stoles that are lent to you by the school to wear.  Your ceremony from your arrival to your departure will be less than one hour.  Restroom facilities will be available but limited.

Additional guidance from the New York State Department of Health includes the following, has informed our planning, and must be adhered to:

  • a maximum of 150 individuals in the zone where graduation ceremonies will take place
  • attendees must remain six feet apart from others at all times, except immediate family members
  • cleaning and disinfection protocols will be adhered to between ceremonies
  • no person-to-person contact is allowed to occur, and no shaking of hands
  • throwing graduation caps is not permitted, nor any exchanges between people that would increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19
  • staggered arrival times, shortened ceremonies, and a limited number of speakers

I am excited to host this year’s graduation ceremonies, even though they are stretched out during the course of the day and will be a new experience for all of us.  In spirit, this class cannot be divided by a pandemic or by separate ceremonies; you are united in the experiences that you have all lived through, not just this year but in all of your years together as students, years together that are about to end as you depart Port Chester High School.

A reminder that the rain date for any ceremonies that get cancelled due to weather will be the same time the following day, Saturday, June 27, 2020.  Please reach out to me or your school counselor if you have any questions.

Mitchell A. Combs, Ph.D.
Port Chester High School