By: Lisa Bicknell
No in-person graduations can be held this spring, so local schools are getting creative with end of year ceremonies.
As promised, the Estill County Board of Education sought input from high school seniors about how they would like commencement handled.
The decision was made to set a graduation date for July 31, 2020 at 8 p.m. at the high school football field.
Superintendent Jeff Saylor wrote in a statement released last week, “The Board and I are committed to having a live graduation, but this event must follow recommendations from local, state and federal officials concerning COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines in effect at that time.”
Just in case circumstances change and to mark the end of the school year, plans are in the works to also conduct a virtual graduation. Between the dates of Wednesday, May 27 and Saturday, May 30, seniors will dress in their caps and gowns (to be picked up on Thursday, May 21), and they will be filmed as they walk across the stage. Honors, scholarships and school awards will also be announced.
The virtual graduation will require a lot of social distancing, so the event will be filmed over a four-day period.
Once the video is edited and complete, it will be posted to social media and seniors will receive a copy of the event.
“These seniors have made many sacrifices during this spring and we want them to know that we honor their accomplishments as they begin the next chapter of their lives,” say Superintendent Saylor.
“Congratulations, Class of 2020.”
Eighth-grade graduation is looking different too. On Wednesday, May 20, there will be an “Exit Eighth Grade Parade,” and students will be handed their report cards, promotional certificates, locker contents and gifts.
In addition, on May 15, a “Farewell Fifth” parade is planned at West Irvine for fifth-graders to also pick up report cards, promotional certificates and gifts.
Some parents have expressed the desire to have a community parade honoring their seniors. Estill County Judge-executive Watson said that his office is considering it and details will be released in the future.