South Haven High School’s Class of 2020 had to wait until July of last year to take part in graduation ceremonies due to COVD-19 health restrictions. Even when they were finally able to do so, the class had to sit socially distanced in the high school parking lot while their loved ones watched the ceremony on a large screen inside their vehicles. That won’t be the case this year, however. The Class of 2021 will graduate in a more normal-like fashion, thanks to less stringent COVID-19 health guidelines.

Commencement is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 6 at Ratcliffe Field, the traditional site for South Haven High School graduations.

Although commencement is several weeks away, graduation-related activities will get underway this week when seniors board the tall ship Friends Good Will for a senior trip on Lake Michigan.

Made possible by a partnership between the Michigan Maritime Museum and the Downtown Association of South Haven, the seniors will sail on the tall ship in two shifts, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19.

Tom Feeney, a member of the downtown merchants group came up with the idea for the senior trip, due to the very unusual year the seniors have had due to restrictions to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The association asked each merchant to contribute $25 toward the trip. The museum agreed to match the contributions through its Education Grant program.

“When Tom came to us with this idea as a collaboration between DASH, the museum, and the community, we were so excited to be a part of it,” said Ashley Deming, director of education and administration for the Maritime Museum. “After the year – and counting – these kids have had, to be able to give them a memorable and fun experience right here in their hometown as a community effort is something for which we should all be proud.”

May 28th will mark the last day of school for the graduating seniors. However, more activities await them. Seniors Awards Night will take place June 3 in Listiak Auditorium, with limited seating for the audience due to COVID-19 indoor health restrictions. Seniors will then take part in Senior Tailgate at 8 a.m., June 4 at Ratcliffe Field, and just prior to the June 6th commencement, seniors will take part in a car parade leading from South Haven High School and ending at Ratcliffe Field.