North seniors receive surprise gift bag on graduation day

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On the morning of June 5—the original date of the Class of 2020 graduation—volunteers loaded up school buses with care packages for the seniors, one of many activities being held this and next week. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

Katelyn Burchill [left] and Diane McKamy deliver a care package to senior John Maranci on Friday, June 5, the original date of the Class of 2020’s graduation. Since it could not be held, the care packages were planned as a way to mark the occasion. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

June 5 should have been marked by the commencement ceremony for North Attleborough’s Class of 2020.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been postponed to a tentative date in late July and on June 11 there will be a drive-thru conferring of diplomas. In order to provide the seniors with a way to mark June 5, parent volunteers and faculty arranged for a gift bag delivery that morning. High School Principal Peter Haviland said that over the last few weeks, plans had been worked on to provide as many activities as possible for the graduating students.

One idea that came up was to provide them with a care package on what would be the day of graduation on June 5,” said Haviland.

The packages consist of a drawstring backpack with blanket, red cup, lawn sign, all with the North logo, along with some snacks. June 5 will also be the date a senior video will be aired, which will show the highlights and accomplishments of the Class of 2020.

“In a time that some categorize as dark a light of hope and love has been ignited,” said Superintendent Scott Holcomb. “As a demonstration to the positive power of groups, the community of North Attleborough has come together in unification to celebrate and support the graduates of 2020. May we all continue to be kind to one another and spread love and peace through our thoughts, words and actions.”

On Thursday, June 4, volunteers for the All Night Grad Party assembled the care packages. Like many senior-related plans, this too had to change once the pandemic closed schools nationwide. Kelly Coscarella, co-chair for the event, said planning and fundraising was already well underway at that time. The party would have been held at the Hockomock YMCA and provided students a safe place to meet and play games on the night of graduation.

We’re in a holding pattern,” she said. “But we knew we couldn’t do it on that night.”

Coscarella estimates that 200-220 of the seniors go to the party, which usually begins at 10:30 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. the next morning. The hope of the organizers is they can arrange another event later in the summer.

Julie Johnson [left] and Marylou McDermott assemble lawn signs that were given as part of a surprise care package on Friday, June 5. Staff Photo/Max Bowen