December 3, 2021

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A New Hampshire high school will graduate seniors on the top of a mountain in socially distanced ceremony

Skiers and snowboarders head down a run underneath the American Eagle lift at the Copper Mountain ski area March 13, 2020.
Skiers and snowboarders head down a run underneath the American Eagle lift at the Copper Mountain ski area March 13, 2020.

Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

  • New Hampshire’s Kennett High School will graduate this year’s seniors in a chairlift ceremony that takes them to the top of a local mountain for their diplomas.

  • Principal Kevin Carpenter told NBC Boston that school officials will distribute diplomas at the top of Cranmore Mountain, which is located just a few miles north of the school.

  • The high school’s creative ceremony is just one of the ways high schools and universities have adapted their ceremonies to deal with social distancing guidelines.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has interrupted classes, exams, and graduations for high school across the US, but one New Hampshire high school came up with a socially distanced solution for this year’s graduation ceremony.

Kennett High School Principal Kevin Carpenter told NBC Boston that graduating seniors will ride a chairlift to the top of Conway, New Hampshire’s Cranmore Mountain to receive their diplomas.

Graduates will have their name announced as they pick their diploma up from a table on the mountain’s peak during the June 13 ceremony, Carpenter told the outlet.

Any of the 172 graduates who do not want to ride the chairlift can receive their diplomas at the base of the mountain, which is located just under five miles north of the school, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

Students will be called alphabetically to ascend the mountain for their diploma presentation and photo opportunity, which is expected to take about 30 minutes per graduate, Carpenter told the outlet.

Becca Deschenes, a Kennett alumna and Cranmore’s director of marketing who is helping coordinate the ceremony, told NBC Boston that the “spectacular” view from the top of the mountain is part of the special experience waiting for this year’s graduates.

“How cool is it to be living in a ski town and be able to graduate at the top of a mountain,” she told the outlet.

Kennett High School’s sky-high ceremony is just one of the creative alternatives marking the Class of 2020.

Colleges, in particular, have scrambled in recent weeks to embrace non-traditional ideas to commemorate their graduating seniors, with everything from teleconference ceremonies, a Minecraft recreation of the University of Pennsylvania, and individual robots for graduates of Tokyo’s Business Breakthrough University.

States across the US are still grappling with forgoing set graduation plans as some stuck with virtual streams and others pushed for socially distant celebrations or more elaborate drive-by events. 

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