With plans for virtual graduation ceremonies underway for Goose Creek CISD seniors, Dr. Randal O’Brien, Goose Creek CISD superintendent, also recommended a face-to-face ceremony option to allow students to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. Students are invited to participate in both.
“We felt it was necessary to hold virtual ceremonies so that students who are leaving for the military or for summer college classes could be certified as graduates and receive their diplomas,” O’Brien said. “Results of a survey showed that 70 percent of the seniors who responded wanted to be able to walk across a stage in front of family and friends to receive their diplomas and would be able to attend an event in the summer. With safety as our top priority, after meetings with campus leadership teams and central administration staff, we decided to hold a ceremony in July, contingent on our ability to follow safety protocols at the time of the event. COVID-19 is a moving target, and we cannot predict what lies ahead, but we hope the situation will be under control by that time.”
Seniors, then considered graduates, will be contacted by their senior sponsors and administrators following the virtual ceremonies after a date is set to allow them to RSVP for the face-to-face ceremonies, which will likely be held at a local venue. The ceremonies will be a little more casual than traditional graduation ceremonies, and provided safety guidelines can be followed, families may watch their students walk across a stage and be congratulated by administrators and board members.
Meanwhile, students, teachers, school administrators and district administrators are hard at work to make these unique virtual ceremonies meaningful to graduates. The ceremonies can be viewed at each high school’s originally designated date and time – May 21 at 7 p.m. for IMPACT Early College High School and May 23 at 10 a.m. for Ross S. Sterling, 2:15 p.m. for Goose Creek Memorial and 6:30 p.m. for Robert E. Lee. Speeches by the superintendent, principal, valedictorian, salutatorian and other students will be prerecorded. Seniors have the opportunity to personalize the slide that will be shown as their name is called. A professionally produced senior video, featuring photos and videos submitted by seniors, will be created for each high school and shown during the ceremony.
Graduation programs will be posted on the Goose Creek CISD website at www.gccisd.net, where families also may view the graduation ceremonies, and keepsake copies of the programs will be included with the diplomas. Yard signs, bearing positive words or phrases suggested by seniors about the Class of 2020, also have been created for each school and are being picked up with caps and gowns.
“We hope you will begin planning your watch parties now for the virtual graduation ceremony and, provided we can follow safety recommendations, we look forward to celebrating your senior at a face-to-face ceremony in July. The Class of 2020 may have missed out on some of the rites of passage of seniors, but these students are making their own memories, and we are proud of the way they are handling this unprecedented situation,” O’Brien said.