For Seniors and Families from Principal Joel Stembridge

Dear Parents and Seniors,

With graduation just around the corner (can you believe it?!?), I want to thank the PTSO for helping us convey important information about seniors’ last days and culminating activities. The PTSO website has an archive of all of the information that we have shared this spring – please see the Graduation FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for details. Below I have a few key reminders and requests: 

Senior Prom and SouthFest
The senior prom will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Monday, June 2 from 7 to 11pm. Following prom, the PTSO and SouthFest Parent Committee have organized an extravagant after-prom celebration at Newton South from 12 midnight until 4am. SouthFest is for ALL seniors (whether they have attended prom or not), and prom dates.

Students who have signed up to take the school-sponsored coach buses to prom should arrive at the breezeway at 5:30pm for check-in. Buses will depart at 6:00pm. All students who take the bus to prom are also expected to take the bus back from prom. Likewise, only students who took the bus to prom will be permitted to take the bus back to South from prom. If you have signed up for the bus and do NOT plan on taking the bus, please contact the senior class advisors, Suzanne Murphy-Ferguson and Cathy Hammond, as soon as possible.

Students who are taking the bus to prom and planning to attend SouthFest may wish to bring a bag with a change of clothes. Upon arrival for the bus, student bags will be searched by school staff and then students may check their bag for storage with a PTSO volunteer. Students should not plan to bring large bags on the bus for prom. A changing area and secure storage area will be provided during SouthFest. To volunteer to help with bag check, please click here.

The senior prom is an event that many seniors have been looking forward to since entering South, and students make many preparations in anticipation of the evening. Please join us in ensuring that this night lives up to its promise for our students by helping to keep each one of them safe and sober. No student under the influence will be allowed into senior prom; we will have random breathalyzer checks. Any student found to be intoxicated or otherwise under the influence will have his or her parents called and will not be allowed to stay at prom. There will be no exceptions made to this rule. School leaders have also been clear with students that substance use or possession at prom could result in that student being barred from participating in the graduation ceremony.

Senior Check-Out
Mandatory “Senior Check-Out” will be Thursday, June 5. Seniors should come to Gym B between 10:30am and 1:00pm to fulfill any final obligations. This process takes about 30 minutes. At this time, seniors will receive their caps and gowns, graduation tickets, graduation parking pass and their cumulative records folder. They will also complete the final senior survey through Naviance, if they have not done so already, ensuring that South has the appropriate information regarding any final transcripts that need to be sent to the students’ chosen schools. Check-out is also a traditional time for signing yearbooks.

Graduation Rehearsal
Graduation rehearsal is REQUIRED for all who wish to participate in the ceremony and will be held in the Newton South field house, at 1:15pm on June 5. Following rehearsal, all seniors, faculty and staff are invited to a Senior Send-Off Picnic sponsored by the PTSO. The picnic will be held outside in back of Science Wing beginning at 2:30pm. In the event of rain, the picnic will be in the Student Center. Brownies, cookies and, especially, volunteers are needed to make the picnic a memorable success. Please sign up to help here.

Graduation for the Class of 2014 will be held in the Newton South field house, on Monday, June 9 at 5:00pm. Seniors should arrive at 4pm to line up in Wheeler Commons. The ceremony lasts two hours, and a professional photographer will take a picture as each individual graduate receives their diploma. Graduation 2014 will be livestreamed so that family members who are not able to attend can view the graduation as it happens at this link. The ceremony will also be recorded by NewTV which will be selling DVDs of the festivities. Download this order form to purchase a graduation 2014 DVD.

While we, as a school, value individual expression, graduation is a ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the entire Class of 2014. It is important that individual behavior honors the group and does not take the focus away from the class and event, as a whole. We expect that students will dress appropriately. We do not think that shorts, jeans, hats, T-shirts and sneakers are appropriate for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

The next several days should be filled with wonderful events. I urge you to talk to your children about unsafe behaviors, especially those that may potentially involve illegal drugs and alcohol. I ask that parents join with the school in discouraging these unsafe and illegal behaviors at all times, but especially during the days and weeks ahead. Just so that we are all on the same page: failure to follow school rules may result in the removal of the privilege of participating in prom and/or graduation.

Graduation Tickets and Parking
Each senior will receive 6 tickets and one parking pass for parking in one of the school lots. These will be given to seniors at Senior Check-Out on June 5. If you need additional tickets, see if a friend has any extra or email your child’s house secretary to be placed on a wait list for extra tickets. During check-out, we will be collecting any extra tickets that students do not need and will redistribute those tickets to families on the wait list on June 6 and June 9.

If you need seating on the floor for people with limited mobility or handicapped parking, also contact your house secretary. We allow one additional family member to sit with those who need special seating. Guests using special seating can use regular graduation tickets, but should approach an usher upon arrival to be shown to the special seating area. Ushers will have a list of all guests who have reserved special seating. Guests using handicapped parking will be on a list for entry into the handicapped lot (opposite the tennis courts). You will need to use your ONE parking pass for this lot. Parking attendants will have the graduate’s name on their list.

We will have an ASL interpreter at graduation, please contact Ms. Scott if you or a family member need this service.

As per agreement with Newton Police and Fire Departments, Brandeis Road will be one-way eastbound from the Parker Street entry to the Greenwood Street end on the afternoon and evening of graduation. This one-way restriction will begin at 3:30pm and end after the Newton Police deem it appropriate. Parking will be permitted on both sides of Brandeis Road where appropriate. You will not need parking permits for the spots along Brandeis Road.

Doors to the Field House Will Open at 4PM. Congratulations to the students and parents of the Class of 2014! I look forward to honoring all our graduates at the fifty-fourth annual Newton South High School commencement ceremony on June 9.

Thank you for your help in managing this wonderful event.

Joel Stembridge, Principal