NCHS Graduation Survival Guide: Tips for Students and Parents


With NCHS graduation just a few days away (5 p.m. on Thursday June 18 at Dunning Field) there are many parents, family members, and graduates buzzing with questions about graduation. The New Canaanite took some time to think of some tips for this year’s graduates, as well as some for their parents.

New Canaan High School graduation ceremony on June 17, 2014

New Canaan High School graduation ceremony on June 17, 2014

Parent Tips: Answers to all of the questions parents want to know.

Where should I park?

  • Parking on the high school property will be limited. But, the lot between the school building and Dunning field—known as “the jock lot”—will be reserved for the disabled and VIPs. If you cannot find parking at NCHS, parking will be available at both South and Saxe Middle School.

TIP: A good place to park is at Waveny Park. Although it is not on the school property, it an easy walk to Dunning Field. Getting out of Waveny can be a easier, too, with less traffic.

What time should I get there to get a good seat?

  • Remember that every parent at NCHS wants to see their son/daughter graduate and share it with their family. This means that many people will get to Dunning Stadium very early to get a seat. If you would like to get a seat, get to Dunning Stadium at least one hour before the ceremony (4 p.m.), and even earlier if you want the best seat in the house.
Student section at New Canaan High School graduation ceremony on June 17, 2014. Credit: Michael Dinan

Student section at New Canaan High School graduation ceremony on June 17, 2014. Credit: Michael Dinan

What should I wear?

  • Although there is no dress code for parents, remember there will be lots of pictures being taken so try to look your best.

TIP: Wear cool clothes because you will be sitting in hot bleachers for a long period of time.

Where should I sit?

  • Parents and family of graduates are advised to sit in the bleachers of Dunning Stadium.

TIP: Before the ceremony begins find out what side of the field your son/daughter are sitting on so that way you can sit close to them for a better picture.

TIP: If you have stadium seat folding chairs it is suggested that you bring them. You will be sitting for a long amount of time on hot bleachers and you might as well make yourself more comfortable. And remember that shade can be found directly in front of the press box.

Do I have to get a ticket for the ceremony?

  • With the ceremony planned for Thursday, June 18 at 5:00 p.m. on Dunning Field (with a rain date the following day at 5:00 p.m.) there will be no need to distribute tickets beforehand. Only if the weather forces the high school to postpone the ceremony to the next day and the high school is not able to hold it outdoors, each graduate will be given two tickets for the ceremony held in the Gym. If this were to happen, the ceremony would be also broadcasted in the Auditorium and Cafeteria.

I’m not very good at taking pictures, but I want to get a nice picture of my son/daughter graduating. What should I do?

  • A professional photographer has been hired by the senior class to take a picture of each graduate receiving his/her diploma. A photo proof will be mailed home within a week after graduation. Parents will have the opportunity to select from a variety of different packages, but there is no obligation to purchase anything.

With all of the chaos after graduation how will I find my son/daughter? How will I get a good picture?

  • After receiving their diplomas, all graduates will be funneled out of the stadium and into the “jock lot” parking lot at NCHS. A reception will follow into Hawes Plaza hosted by the junior class.

TIP: A great photo opportunity is one of your son/daughter down on the corner of Dunning Field when they are being escorted out of graduation.

TIP: Before the graduation ceremony begins, decide a place to meet your graduate afterwards. It will be hard to find your son/daughter at the end of the ceremony with all of the seniors wearing the same caps and gowns.

What time should I schedule my family’s graduation plans afterwards (i.e. dinner plans, parties)?

  • Your graduate may want to hang around and take many pictures at graduation, while also saying goodbyes to friends and teachers. If you need to make a reservation somewhere make those plans flexible. For example, schedule something that could start between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
Family, friends and supporters crowded into the home field-side grandstands and in the plaza above for the New Canaan High School graduation ceremony on June 17, 2014. Credit: Michael Dinan

Family, friends and supporters crowded into the home field-side grandstands and in the plaza above for the New Canaan High School graduation ceremony on June 17, 2014. Credit: Michael Dinan

I’m bringing my parents (grandparents) to my son/daughter’s graduation, but they aren’t in the best of shape and I don’t think they’ll be able to make their way up to the bleachers. Where should they sit?

  • There will be seating available on Dunning field for the elderly and handicapped that are in attendance.


Graduate Tips: Answers to all of the questions students want to know.

What should I wear under my cap and gown?

  • Attire: It is suggested that boy wear short-sleeved white shirts and dark ties, shoes, and long pants. Girls should wear a dress or something light in weight with white shoes without heels.
  • Hair: It is suggested that all hair be kept simple because the cap will flatten any hair style.
  • Shoes: NCHS strongly discourages flip-flops or sandals because students will going up stairs. Bare feet are prohibited.

Where do I get my cap and gown?

  • If you have not already done so, pick up your cap and gown from the NCHS Attendance Office. Caps and gowns have been ordered for all graduates. There is a $65 graduation fee so make sure that has been paid beforehand or upon arrival.

How long will the graduation be?

  • The graduation should be around two hours. Try not to make plans until around 7:30 p.m.

When we throw our caps in the air at the end of the ceremony, how will I know which one is mine?

  • Although many students end up picking up a random cap after the whole class throws them up in the air, there are ways to make sure you get your own back.

TIP: Put your initials on the inside of your cap so you will be able to locate it.

I think I still owe the library 25 cents from I book I took out freshman year and returned late. Will this obligation forbid me from graduating?

All outstanding obligations need to resolved prior to graduation rehearsal as caps and gowns will be distributed only to students who have resolved all obligations. Some suggestions by the high school are as follows:

  • Textbooks and other class-related material should be returned.
  • Overdue library books, fees, and parking tickets should be paid for.
  • Graduation Survey on Naviance should be completed.
  • All seniors who applied to NCAA Clearinghouse and still want to be NCAA certified to play collegiate sports must notify Mrs. Granite.
  • Athletic obligations such as uniforms and equipment should be returned.

I want to take some nice pictures with my friends before graduation. Where should I take them?

TIP: A good place to take pictures before graduation is at Waveny. The background with the fields and at the Waveny house will make the perfect graduation pictures.

Is there a rehearsal for graduation? What time should I be at graduation?  

Schedule for the seniors the day of graduation:

Thursday, June 18

  • 9:30 a.m.—Senior Breakfast in the NCHS Cafeteria A full course breakfast with omelets, meats, and beverages.
  • 10:30 a.m.—12:30 pm.—Graduation Rehearsal in the Cafeteria

A mandatory rehearsal for all seniors participating in the commencement ceremony

  • 4:00 p.m.—Graduation Preparation

Seniors are expected to report to the Gym in caps and gowns to begin to line up.

  • 5:00 p.m.—Graduation

Graduation will be held on Dunning Field.

The New Canaanite wishes good luck to all of the graduates!

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