The first of Goose Creek CISD’s virtual graduation ceremonies begin tonight. 

Students graduating from the IMPACT Early College High School will participate in a virtual graduation ceremony at 7 tonight. 

The three traditional high schools are each having a virtual ceremony Saturday. Ross S. Sterling High School’s is at 10 a.m. while Goose Creek Memorial High School’s is at 2:15 p.m. Robert E. Lee High School’s virtual graduation ceremony is at 6:30 p.m. 

All ceremonies are being broadcast on the district’s website at www.gccisd.net. The ceremonies are also being broadcast on the City of Baytown’s channel, Channel 16. 

The district also has face-to-face graduation ceremonies in July. Sterling’s ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. July 16. GCM’s ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. July 17. Lee’s is at 9 a.m. July 18. All face-to-face ceremonies are set at Stallworth Stadium if the weather permits. 

Partnering with Lee College, IMPACT will hold its ceremony at noon, July 18 at Lee College Sports Arena, with Stallworth Stadium as a contingency plan, depending on safety protocols.

Students will wear caps and gowns, and have their photo taken on the stage. 

The district warns all face-to-face ceremonies are contingent on state and local orders regarding safety at the time of the events.

IMPACT has 94 graduates this year. Lee has 419 graduates while Sterling’s number of seniors is reported to be 562. GCM’s is reported to be 493. 

The plan for the graduation ceremonies was announced by Matt Bolinger, executive director of strategic planning and innovation, and Christi Leath, director of advanced academics and special projects, at a recent board meeting. The idea was to not let the COVID-19 pandemic prevent the Class of 2020 students from enjoying what many consider a rite of passage – a graduation ceremony where they can walk across the stage and receive a hard-earned diploma.   

A survey was conducted, and 70% of the students out of the 3,000 surveyed expressed a strong interest in a face-to-face ceremony, according to Bolinger. 

There were concerns about those going into the military that would not be able to participate in the July ceremony. The Goose Creek board honored those students at Monday’s meeting. 

Students were asked to submit a personal photo, a senior portrait, and some quotes about themselves in an attempt to include as many traditional components as possible in the virtual ceremony.  The ceremonies will also include a recognition video for each high school.

The senior speeches, such as those from the valedictorian and salutatorian, are also included in the ceremony. 

The virtual ceremonies will also include a social wall/watch party where family and friends can share positive comments during the streaming of the graduation. In addition, each student will receive a flash drive with the 2020 senior videos and of the graduation ceremony. 

The district had previously recognized the seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Custom-made yard signs were made for the seniors using words and phrases they submitted to represent themselves. In addition, a parade honoring the Top 10 students from each high school was held. 

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