PRESS RELEASE: Holyoke High School Class of 2019 Commencement

PRESS RELEASE: Holyoke High School Class of 2019 Commencement

May 29, 2019

Holyoke High School Class of 2019 Commencement


HOLYOKE, Massachusetts Holyoke High School will be celebrating its 154th commencement on Sunday, June 2nd at 1:00 PM at the school’s John F. Gilligan Field at the Roberts Sports Complex (500 Beech Street).

“We are proud of our students and excited for a few new traditions that will begin this year,” shared Executive Principal of Holyoke High School North and Dean Campuses, Dr. Stephen Mahoney.  “This one graduation ceremony is being held for Holyoke High School North and Dean campus seniors.  All graduates will graduate in alphabetical order and there will be a valedictorian and salutatorian for each campus who will speak at the ceremony.  A senior from each campus who has a story of perseverance to share will also speak. Holyoke Public Schools K-12 educators will form a corridor to welcome the graduates as they arrive and will be seated at a place of honor.  Students will be seated so that families can see their graduates’ faces during the ceremony.”

As part of the district’s turnaround efforts, the Holyoke Public Schools has embarked on a strategic, innovative High School Redesign initiative that includes strategies for improving the instruction and services offered, and providing students with the skills and tools they need to be successful now, and later in college and their careers.  The district is expanding choices for students through innovative programs, community initiatives and university partnerships that help students develop a wide range of skills and interests and explore college and career options.  

Students at Holyoke High School receive an in-depth, well-rounded MassCore-aligned education that provides them with exposure to a wide array of college and career opportunities in the area of their emerging interests and community-based learning opportunities. Students have the opportunity to graduate with additional credentials that expand their college and career options.  The number of college courses students can access on and off campus through partnerships with Holyoke Community College, Westfield State University, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has substantially increased.

Members of this graduating class are the first in Holyoke to receive the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy.  The following ten students will receive the award that was established in November 2017 as a way to recognize graduates who have earned proficiently in English as well as another language: Marianegely Aldarondo, Ruth Arzuaga-Rodriguez, Katelynn Cruz, Khyarah Gaston Feliciano, Mia Hernandez, Karina Lopez-Perez, Nashali Pagan, Thayra Quinones, Dylan Rios Bernier, and Cristal Sepulveda.  Recipients will be given a distinguished pin and sash that will be worn over their graduation gown and the Seal of Biliteracy insignia will be affixed to student diplomas as proof of biliterate attainment.

Holyoke Public Schools has designed multiple pathways of excellence where all students graduate prepared to excel in college, career and community leadership.  The redesigned high school structure empowers students as self-directed learners ready for 21st-century workplace and college rigor.  Holyoke students learn to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, engaged and productive community members, and mindful individuals.



Additional Notes About the Graduation Ceremony

The gates to Roberts Sports Complex will be open at noon on June 2nd.  There is no limit to the number of guests, provided that the ceremonies are held outside.  In the case of inclement weather, graduation will be held in the gymnasium.  Each senior is issued three tickets for family/friends to attend the graduation ceremonies in the gymnasium.  Due to space limitations, only those with tickets (this includes children) can be allowed entrance to the gymnasium.

More about the State Seal of Biliteracy

Students qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy when a high school senior has attained proficiency in English, met qualifications for graduation, and has passed the state approved language assessment. Through the Seal of Biliteracy, the recognition of attaining biliteracy becomes part of the high school transcript and diploma for these students.  The Seal serves to certify attainment of biliteracy for students, employers, and universities. This expands opportunities as students leave school and are ready to enter college and the workforce.

More about the Holyoke Public Schools

The Holyoke Public School district (HPS) has made major gains in graduation and dropout rates (the highest since the MCAS was introduced as a graduation requirement).   Holyoke’s 2017-18 graduation rate is 72%, an increase of 20% in comparison to results from five years ago.  The district’s dropout rate is 4.9%, reflecting a 23% decrease for the same time period.  This information is reflected in the graduation and dropout rate data that was released yesterday by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for schools throughout the Commonwealth.  


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Judy Taylor, Communications Director, (413) 493-1605,