Commencement FAQ


Commencement FAQ*

 *Details are subject to change and will be updated and finalized as we move closer to Commencement.

Q: What is the date and time of Commencement?  

A: Commencement will be on Thursday, May 30th. The ceremony begins at 4:00pm and concludes at approximately 6:00pm. All graduates and their guests should arrive no earlier than 2:00pm.  Please read the detailed schedule below for details and expectations.

2-3 pm: Family Photos on the Quad (optional)

Highpoint Pictures will be available to take photos of the graduates and their families. 

3:15 pm: Class Photo* - all graduates are expected to assemble on the bleachers in the Upper Field in their cap and gown.

*If you do not plan to be on campus for family photos (which are optional), students must be on the Upper Field by 3:00pm sharp.

3:30 pm: Graduates meet advisors on the Upper Field and walk by advisory to the JV Gym to process to the Quad for the ceremony.

4:00 pm: Ceremony will begin

6:00 pm: Approximate end time for the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served on the athletic field where families are welcome to mingle and take photos.  

Q: Will there be a Commencement rehearsal?

A: Commencement rehearsal will be on Wednesday, May 29 from 10:00am-12:00pm.

Q: What is the process to receive a cap and gown?  

A: Caps and gowns will be distributed on Wednesday, May 29 at the Commencement rehearsal. Please remember to bring them for Commencement; we do not have replacements.  Gowns will be collected following the Commencement ceremony.

Q: Where is the Commencement held?  

A: Commencement is held on the Quad.  If there is inclement weather, the ceremony will be held indoors in the Varsity Gym.

Please be reminded that the Quad has variable surfaces which may make it more difficult for some attendees. There will be chairs set up for attendees, and chairs along the walkway for those that may need an accommodation. If your guest has an accessibility need, please email Linda Colarusso at so we can accommodate them in the special seating area.

Please see this helpful accessibility guide and campus map for more detailed information.

Q: When is the decision made to move Commencement indoors? 

A: This will be determined by 12:00pm the day before Commencement, accounting for the most up-to-date weather forecast.  

Q: How many Commencement tickets will each family receive?  

A: If outdoors, all guests are welcome.  If indoors, each family will be permitted to bring six guests into the gym.    

Q: Will students be sitting with parents or the grade at Commencement?  

A: Seniors sit in advisories during the ceremony.

Q: Will there be parking on campus?

A: Parking on campus is available on a first come, first serve basis. This one-day courtesy parking pass is valid from 3-6:30pm and contains the necessary parking and driving instructions. Shuttle bus service to the Fieldston campus will be available at the garage entrance. 

There are a limited number of parking spots at Fieldston for people with disabilities. These spots are available on a first come basis for families with a handicap plate or tag. All cars without a permit or plate, carrying a family member whose mobility is compromised, will be able to pull up to the top of the driveway and have a family member (not the driver) escort the person with impaired mobility out to the Quad while the driver parks the car off campus.

Q: Will Commencement be livestreamed? 

A: Yes; we invite you to use this livestream link to watch the 2024 Commencement Ceremony. The link will be available to watch and replay for one year. This will allow extended families and friends to watch the ceremony the same day, as well as allow families to relive the ceremony as often as they would like. 

There will also be an overflow seating area on campus, should it be too hot outside for some guests or if there is limited seating due to Commencement moving into the gym.

Q: Will there be photographers at the Commencement?

A: Photographers will be on site from approximately 2:00-3:00pm for seniors and families wishing to have their photos taken. They will take individual photos of each graduate holding their diploma, and they will also be available for a short time after the ceremony for family photos. 


Families are also welcome to remain on campus after the ceremony and take their own pictures using personal phones and cameras on the Quad.


All photo orders can be made directly from Highpoint Pictures. Ordering information will be sent to parents/guardians approximately one week after Commencement.

Q: What is the dress code for Commencement?

A: Please make sure students wear something appropriate under their gown as they will return the gowns after the ceremony.

Q: What are the Commencement requirements?

It is essential that students fulfill their yearly Physical Education prerequisite as this is a Fieldston and NY State graduation requirement. Students who have not met their Physical Education obligations will not receive a diploma at graduation. As a Credit class, students must participate in PE 2x each week during each semester.  If a student's participation/attendance does meet the  required number of classes, students must make up those missed classes in order to receive credit.  Throughout the semester, teachers have been in contact with students who fall below that scale, and have reiterated the importance of making up for those missed classes. 

Students who currently have an INCOMPLETE on their record need to go directly to John Dwinell, Department Chair and/or assigned PE instructor to confirm the number of make-ups to be completed for credit. Make-up forms can be picked up in the Athletic Office and directly from John Dwinell, Department Chair.  Upper School students are allowed to make up to 2x classes/workouts per week by choosing one of the many workout options on the back of the form or by completing their own approved workout. 

Once students have completed all of the classes that they owe, they must then  have a PE teacher sign off on the completed workouts and submit the documentation to the Department Chair.  Once received and approved, grades can be changed. 


Students who are not playing both Winter and Spring sports need to be registered for either PE, Dance, or Alternate Athletic Credit. Students who are not currently signed up for any of the above are not receiving PE credit for the current semester.

To fulfill the CSL graduation requirement, students must complete at least 3 months of Community Service learning work during their Form IV school year and an additional 3 months of service work in their Form V school year. Some seniors have carried this requirement into their form VI year, which is accepted once approved by the CSL office. A number of students completed their requirement through CSL classes or a combination of CSL classes and independent service work. At or near completion of independent volunteer work, students must submit a CSL supervisor’s evaluation and a self-reflection.  

Students who do not fulfill their Community Service Learning obligation cannot receive their ECFS diploma. An email detailing students’ Community Service progress will be sent by the CSL office. Any student who is having difficulty fulfilling this obligation or uncertain of their remaining obligation must speak with Shelley Topping-Omodunbi ( in the CSL office immediately, located in room 115A. 

Don’t ForgetForm VI Gift

The Form VI Gift is an important part of senior year traditions at ECFS.  Each year, the graduating class parents/guardians strive for 100% participation to raise funds that support both the Orange Fund and an endowed fund for financial aid, named in honor of the graduating class.  If you haven’t made your gift yet, we hope you will consider making a donation and getting Class of 2024 to 100% participation. You may do so here.  Thank you! 

Other Questions?

Q: Have a question that we missed?

A: Please email additional questions to Linda Colarusso