August 8, 2020

It’s Graduation Day! Lyme-Old Lyme HS Seniors to Have ‘Drive-In,’ Live-Streamed Ceremony, Followed by Celebratory Car Parade

Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall celebrates the LOLHS Class of 2020. Photo by M. Hayes.

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2020 will be the first class in recent memory – and perhaps ever – not able to enjoy the pomp and ceremony of a full commencement event in the company of their peers on their graduation day, which is today, June 12. The ceremony will be live-streamed at this link.

Faced with the twin challenges of schools being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing rules still in effect, not only have Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools found a unique way to give the senior class a memorable graduation while still adhering to social distancing protocols, but also a group of parents of LOLHS  seniors have come up with an inspired opportunity for the community as a whole to celebrate the graduates.

Although the Governor decided late last week that outdoor graduation ceremonies could take place from July 6 and henceforward, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools retained their planned date of June 12 since another of the governor’s stipulations was that ceremonies could only be for up to  150 people including the graduates. Since LOLHS will be graduating 127 students, a single ceremony was not an option.

The Graduation Ceremony

Follow a live-stream of the ceremony at this link.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will host a meticulously planned “Drive-in Graduation” event from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. for students and their families only during which each graduating student will be able to drive up to the school at a specified time, hear their name read over the Public Announcement system, walk up onto the stage, and receive their High School Diploma from LOLHS Principal James Wygonik.

Caps and gowns — and masks — will be worn throughout and there will even be a moment allowed after the student receives his/her diploma for each family to take some photos. At that point, students — standing alone — may briefly remove their masks. Strict rules will be in place governing who can attend, the number of cars permitted per family and numerous other details.

A list of the graduating seniors will be added here later this morning.

Here is a link to the LOLHS Class of 2020 Senior Slide Show, which was produced by Class Historian Chandler Munson.

Here is a link to a video, which features every single LOLHS Class of 2020 graduate with their names. The video was made by Vicki Griffin and her son Tanner, who is a senior at LOLHS.

A video is being produced after the event that will include all the speeches — these have been pre-recorded — as well as the graduating “moment” for each senior. We will provide a link to it as soon as it is released.

The Celebratory Parade

On the evening of June 12, starting at 6:30 p.m., the students will form a parade of their personally-decorated cars in Town Woods Park. The parade will proceed from there to Boston Post Rd. and then follow that to Lyme Street continuing to the foot of the McCurdy.  The Old Lyme Resident State Trooper will supervise the parade and the Old Lyme Fire Department will also be participating.

The hope is that the townspeople will line the route to celebrate the graduates with cheering, waving signs, honking horns and generally making a supportive noise.  All those celebrating along the route are urged to follow social distancing guidelines at all times.

The parade is anticipated to last until 7 p.m.

The parade organizers, Teri Lewis, Katie Balocca,  Dottie Wells, Teri Arias and Linda Hamilton, are all parents of graduating seniors. Lewis explained in a text how the idea of a parade came about  saying, “We really wanted to give them [the graduating seniors] something to look forward to… [after] everything these kids have had to deal with.”

She commented that the First Selectman’s Office, the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce, the Old Lyme Resident Trooper and Police Department, and the Old Lyme Fire Department “have all been amazing” in helping to formulate the plans for the parade. Lewis summed up the process of turning the original idea of the parade into reality in the words, “Everyone has been extremely supportive.”  Plans are still in the works for precise details of the parade and more information will be forthcoming in due course.

Lewis added enthusiastically “I think this will not only be wonderful for our seniors, but the whole town needs this.”



  1. Cissie Keogh says

    How wonderful

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