The planning behind graduation


Credit: WSPN Staff

Mizoguchi hands a diploma to graduate Emma Blahut at the Class of 2017 graduation.

Caitlin Newton and Julia Callini

The final page of the chapter for high school students is graduation day. Twelve years of work are dedicated toward this day, and the pressure is high to make it an unforgettable event. However, there is a process that is followed to ensure the program runs smoothly.

The graduation planning for the Class of 2018 began in spring 2017. The school books vendors and photographers early on to ensure they are available. In the spring, the administration worked with custodial staff, the Wayland Department of Public Works, the guidance office, class advisers and class officers to organize the event.

“It starts with the seniors, [when] the graduating seniors have graduating rehearsal,” Principal Allyson Mizoguchi said. “It was in the field house, and they figured out where to sit, and [receive] their diplomas. Then, there’s renting the chairs, making sure the sound system works [and] getting the stage set up. It’s a lot of custodial work, but we also have lots of outside vendors that come in and help.”

This is class advisers Amanda Cosenza and Christopher Dumais’ first time being a part of the process. As administration is experienced with all of the planning, they take on more of a leadership role rather than a technical one.

“The process of planning it, in my opinion as a first-timer, is that it’s the same every year,” Cosenza said. “The names and all of the rows take time to put together and make sure everyone is accounted for in the right order, so I think the rehearsal took a lot of time and effort from everyone.”

Even though the teachers do most of the work, students must attend a graduation rehearsal where the plans for Sunday are laid out and walked through. Another requirement for the ceremony is that all fees must be paid off. The rentals, chairs, sounds, stage and other details are mostly paid for by the school budget. Graduates are responsible for paying a graduation fee, which mostly covers the activities and accessories such as the Boston Harbor cruise and the graduation cap and gown.

Some students participate more than others. Valedictorian Julia Hong, co-salutatorians Yaniv Goren and Alexander Zhong, senior President Kara Whitesell, senior Vice President Jeff Prince and senior Nia Greenidge prepared speeches to give to their peers.

“[The speakers] find an idea that [they] want to impart on an audience of this nature and what [they] want to share on that day,” Mizoguchi said.

Mizoguchi, School Committee Chair Ellen Grieco and WPS Superintendent Arthur Unobskey will also deliver speeches at graduation.

Guidance is also involved with the planning. Secretary Ann Fratto is responsible for the creation of the itineraries, along with much of the coordination with the vendors, who are responsible for bringing the chairs, tents, stage, sound, robes and diplomas.

According to Mizoguchi, graduation is a nostalgic experience but should also remain a joyous day.

“It’s a chance to bid everybody good luck and farewell, so it requires the support and contribution of a whole lot of people,” Mizoguchi said.