class of 2020

NH Seniors Receive Diploma on Mountain Top

174 Kennett High School seniors each were allowed to have four guests join them for a 10-minute ride on the chairlift to the Cranmore Mountain summit, where they got their diploma and were photographed.

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It’s all downhill from here for New Hampshire high school seniors who got their diplomas atop a mountain before riding a chairlift back to the ski area’s base.

With high school graduation ceremonies in jeopardy because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kennett High School in North Conway principal Kevin Carpenter says he wanted to use the community’s resources to make the best of a horrible situation.

Phoebe Lyons and Grace Jarell, Kennett High School seniors, deliver graduation speeches

The 174 seniors each were allowed to have four guests join them for a 10-minute ride on the chairlift to the mountain summit, where they got their diploma and were photographed.

Most schools have had to hold virtual graduation ceremonies this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but Carpenter had said in May that holding a virtual graduation didn't seem like enough for his students.

"It didn't feel right for these kids. They're missing out on so much. My heart goes out to the seniors in high school," Carpenter said at the time.

Cranmore Mountain ski resort offered its services at no cost for Saturday’s ceremony.

Rebecca Deschenes, the marketing director for Cranmore Mountain and a Kennett High graduate, loved the idea when it was proposed. Once both sides agreed to the idea, Deschenes worked with the school on the final details.

"How cool is it to be living in a ski town and be able to graduate at the top of a mountain," she said in May. "I'm really glad that we're going to be able to give these kids such a memorable day."

NBC10 Boston and the Associated Press
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