I feel some sadness for our Noblesville High School class of 2021 as I did for the class of 2020.
It wasn’t fair that last year’s graduating class didn’t have an in-person graduation. That they didn’t have a junior-senior prom. And that they ended their school year without getting to see all of their friends.
This year’s class of 2021 seniors could actually see some kind of a graduation and a senior prom this spring, as district officials are working diligently to make sure that our seniors get the opportunity to celebrate.
Noblesville High School principal Craig McCaffrey sent out a communications letter to student families on Friday afternoon with the details that are still developing.
It would be wonderful if the Class of 2021 seniors would have a traditional ceremony at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, like years 2015-2019. (The NHS Class of 2014, which graduated 652 seniors, was the last class to graduate in The Mill, NHS's gymnasium).
But it doesn’t sound like a traditional ceremony at the Coliseum is a feasible plan this year. The fairgrounds’ management and the health department will not approve NHS’s more than 700 graduates plus at least two spectators per graduate at the venue.
“As a result, we are deferring to our next best option that will allow us to honor the senior class all together -- since they have been split up since last March - and will not get cancelled due to COVID numbers. It was our mission to plan something that we know will occur for these students - we cannot plan something that could get cancelled (they have had too much of that already),” Principal McCaffrey said.
While the original graduation date on the school board-approved calendar was Tuesday, June 8, the updated plan is for graduation to be on Thursday, June 3, the last teacher work day. (The official last day of school is Wednesday, June 2.) This will give teachers an opportunity to participate in the celebration before summer break, he said. Senior class officers are helping to plan logistics for this day. However, it is the goal to still give seniors special memories and acknowledge them and their families for their hard work.
There will also be a prom, unless COVID-19 pandemic concerns shift. But it will be seniors only, because prom will be the first time that the entire class of 2021 will be together since last March. (The last day of school that all students attended was Friday, March 13.)
What will prom look like? Yard games. Food. Dancing, Masks required.
Prom is expected to be an open-air venue, but covered, so it won’t be weather dependent, and will take place during warmer weather before the end of school. (I’m not revealing the date or place to the general public.)
The NHS PTO is also working on a 2021 Senior Campaign in collaboration with the Noblesville Schools Education Foundation to collect donations and organize efforts to support each senior.
Funds raised are buying every senior a yard sign to celebrate their individual accomplishments, and these signs are displayed along Cumberland Road near the front of the high school. Each sign costs $10 for an estimated 735 students in the NHS class of 2021.
The PTO will also celebrate seniors with an Adopt-a-Senior program and help enhance other events and programs, such as prom and graduation week.
Any funds raised that aren’t used will go toward the Education Foundation’s scholarship fund to support the class of 2021 graduating seniors.
In 2020, while I was sad for the seniors that their commencement was canceled, I was really impressed by the well-thought-out planning of the class of 2020 parade event, planned by the high school administration, and attended by 550 of the 714 seniors.
In fact, like I said last year, it would be really cool if the district could somehow turn this parade into an annual event for graduating seniors, in addition to commencement, which will hopefully be back this year.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.