Virtual, delayed graduations the rule for high schools

Schools and districts plan different ways to honor the Class of 2020

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/4/20

Area high schools are handling the job of honoring their graduating seniors differently this year, thanks to COVID-19 and two-months long public shut down. Some will wait out the pandemic, opting for …

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Virtual, delayed graduations the rule for high schools

Schools and districts plan different ways to honor the Class of 2020

Posted

Area high schools are handling the job of honoring their graduating seniors differently this year, thanks to COVID-19 and two-months long public shut down.

Some will wait out the pandemic, opting for a ceremony later this summer while others are planning a virtual solution, similar to the way the schools have taught their students since the shutdowns started.

“We are under the umbrella of having some high hopes and if it does not happen, we can do some virtual stuff,” said Northglenn High School social studies teacher Kasey Nunn, an alumnus of the school.

The Adams 12 Five Star District said the district’s seven high schools plan to have ceremonies in July at the district’s stadium, 9351 Washington St. in Thornton. Those will be in addition to virtual ceremonies scheduled

between May 28 and June 12. When and how those virtual ceremonies go off is up to each school.

“The high school principals are meeting and we want to have similar products for each one,” Nunn said. “But the good thing about our district is that even though we have had a tough time settling ideas — conditions do change daily — we do have the opportunity to have school-autonomy. Northglenn High School is not the same place as Legacy, so we might have something different. We don’t have to be all cookie-cutter.”

The one thing they share is that each school has created yard signs, distributing them to the seniors so they place them in their front yards.

Hollywood production

Westminster Public Schools graduating seniors will still get their ceremony but, thanks to COVID 19, it’ll be later in the month and virtual. Westminster High School’s 2020 ceremony was scheduled for May 16 at 1st Bank Center

in Broomfield.

Westminster Public Schools has contracted with Vego Pictures, a Hollywood-based production company that specializes in live-streamed programming and production. The company will produce two ceremonies, May 16 for Hidden

Lake High School graduates and May 21 for Westminster High School’s seniors. Both will be streamed live for the students and their families, with the program recorded for later viewing.

Seniors and their families will be able to log on from home. The video graduations will include speeches from selected guests and will show the picture of each student as their name is called. Musical performances hope to be included as well.

“I’m telling our graduates that we are guaranteeing one fantastic event, and are hoping for two,” said Superintendent Pam Swanson said in a written statement. “This was a difficult decision, but it’s important that we keep

everyone safe.”

Graduates will be instructed on how to view their school’s ceremony and how to invite family and friends to watch.

Swanson said there are plans to schedule an in-person celebration for the senior class at both Westminster schools once the state and local health departments allow large-scale public gatherings.

School pictures

Northglenn High School’s Nunn said she’s working with Jostens, the company that specializes in providing graduation caps and gowns, to provide a virtual ceremony.

“Our initial thought was to try to make it as close as we could do a graduation ceremony, but that’s going to be difficult when you are all at home,” she said.

The virtual ceremony will include pre-recorded speeches and she’s encouraging students to take pictures of themselves wearing their cap and gown in front of the school. That’ll be shown when their names are announced during the virtual ceremony.

“I think some of the schools are doing that too, but everybody really is trying to do their own thing,” Nunn said.

Vantage Point High School will celebrate with an official drive-in graduation ceremony at 8:30 p.m. June 23 at the Denver Mart Drive-in.

Representatives from Adams 12’s other high schools could not be reached for comment.

Seven days in July

Nunn said she has her fingers crossed that the in-person ceremonies will be allowed to happen later this summer. The ceremonies are currently scheduled for 10 a.m each day between July 20-28.

“We can’t set everything in stone,” Nunn said. “There’s a lot still up in the air, and so we are hopeful.”

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