High schools announce changed graduation plans because of pandemic

Local high school seniors will be celebrating graduation in unique ways this year. School districts plan to hold virtual graduation ceremonies and car parades. (Tai’s Captures/Unsplash)

Local high schools are looking for ways to celebrate 2020’s graduating seniors after the pandemic forced schools to finish the year through remote learning.

Provo City School District announced their graduation plans on May 6. The three schools in the district — Timpview, Provo and Independence — will each create a highlight video and hold an “auto procession” where graduates and their families can drive to the school and receive their diplomas.

The district’s website also says schools might have the option to hold a formal graduation ceremony later in the summer or fall if health guidelines allow and enough students are interested.

“The decision was made after consultation with many groups,” Communication Director Caleb Price said. “School administrators worked closely with senior class leadership, parent groups, district administration and potential graduation venues to determine what was possible and what would be meaningful for students.”

Nebo School District has a similar plan. The five high schools in the district will each host a car parade followed by an opportunity for students to receive their diploma and take a picture. The schools will also stream a virtual graduation ceremony on Facebook and Youtube. When restrictions are loosened, the district plans to hold a party for all of their 2020 graduates.

Alpine School District sent a survey to this year’s graduating seniors asking how they would like to celebrate graduation. According to the district’s announcement, the seniors responded that they would like to keep as many aspects of a traditional ceremony as possible.

High schools in the district will give graduates “the opportunity to ‘walk’ in caps and gowns, have their name announced, receive their diploma from the principal, and have a picture taken by the school’s graduation block letter.” Each school will also have a virtual graduation program with speeches and music.

Pleasant Grove High School in Alpine School District will host their adapted graduation ceremony on May 21, 22, 26, and 27. Students will be able to come to the school with their families one graduate at a time to receive their diploma in the auditorium.

Pleasant Grove Assistant Principal Dave Carter said the overall response to the plan has been positive. “Graduating is a great accomplishment that needs to be celebrated,” he said. “Even though it will not be a traditional formal ceremony this year, we feel students will get the recognition they and their parents deserve.”

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