The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Class of 2020 will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas on Sunday, in an intimate ceremony for seniors and their immediate families.

Breaking with tradition to accommodate health guidelines, the school’s 61st commencement exercises will be held at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society in West Tisbury. The ceremony begins at 5:45 p.m. on July 26 and will be conducted in a drive-in style format, with students, clad in face masks, seated in chairs by the stage and families watching from their cars just behind the venue. Attendance will be limited to one car per family, registered through an online form. The event will be closed to the public.

High school principal Sara Dingledy, who has been busy planning the event since May with the help of key faculty members, said that despite the unorthodox format, hosting the event in-person was a priority.

“The class of 2020 is an amazing group of kids and they have managed the disappointment of their senior year so well,” she said. “They wanted an in-person ceremony and we felt like it was our responsibility to make that happen for them.”

Families will watch the event on a large LED screen from their cars and tune into the speeches and songs on the radio. Though the event is private, the broader community is invited to participate by watching full video coverage on MVTV channel 14 or via livestream on the high school’s webpage.

This year, the class of 2020 has also chosen to make the ceremony more inclusive.

Regional high school graduation for seniors and their families is on Sunday, July 26. — Maria Thibodeau

Hoping to further incorporate Portuguese-speaking families, the class voted to make the ceremony bilingual, marking a new tradition for the school. The event’s opening remarks, delivered by class of 2020 master of ceremonies, Julia Gomes, will be given in both English and Portuguese, and translations of all the speeches will be distributed to attending families.

Class president Alexandra Rego, who was involved with the initiative, said making the ceremony bilingual was non-negotiable.

“We wanted to be able to make this ceremony representative of the student

body,” she said. “We were hoping to start a tradition [because] a commencement ceremony ought to be representative of all of your class, not just a very specific few.”

In keeping with this vision, Vitoria Krasa, a graduating senior whose family emigrated from Curitiba, Brazil, will give the school’s first Portuguese commencement speech this year. Ms. Krasa, who has been involved with the high school’s Immigrant Leadership Group, plans to discuss her experience as a Brazilian student at the regional high school.

“I don’t usually hear from the Brazilian kids in our grade or in our school,” she said. “I think it’s really cool that we are being given this opportunity to speak for friends and colleagues on our point of view.”

The ceremony will include speeches from the valedictorian (Jaiden Edelman), salutatorian (Joseph Serpa), class essayist and class president (Alex Rego), and student council president (Emily Gazzaniga). Jackson Pachico will also give a speech as the class-selected speaker, a new position this year.

Ms. Dingledy said she is looking forward to finally celebrating the class and all the work they have done.

“I hope that the seniors [and their families] are able to enjoy the ceremony in as traditional a way as possible,” she said.

And after a year of challenges and an abrupt end to the year, the class of 2020 is excited to get the chance to celebrate together.

“This class has endured a ton, but I’ve been so incredibly inspired by my classmates this year,” said Ms. Rego. “The amount of compassion I saw—I’ve felt so connected with my class.”

“I really did have a great high school experience but the thing that made it for me was the MVRHS community,” she continued. “I’m bummed to leave, but I have no doubt that I’ll be back.”

A rain date is scheduled for Monday, July 27.