High school graduation traditions change with pandemic

With classes canceled across Texas and beyond due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet another tradition will have to change as graduations are being postponed or cut entirely.

In the Houston area, Klein ISD announced in April it rescheduled graduation ceremonies until August.

The district said ceremonies, originally set for May 30, will take place in person August 1 at NRG Stadium.

Fort Bend ISD has finalized its graduation plans. All 11 high school ceremonies will be held at FBISD's Kenneth Hall Stadium from June 1-6.

Though the ceremonies will be outdoors, social distancing will be enforced. Households of five individuals or fewer, excluding the graduate, can sit together. Otherwise, six feet of distance between participants will be required.

For those reasons, all FBISD graduations will be ticketed events.

Here are the times for each graduation, which also allot for inclement weather.

Monday, June 1, 2020

8:00 a.m. Austin HS
8:00 p.m. Ridge Point HS

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

8:00 a.m. Hightower HS
8:00 p.m. Bush HS

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

8:00 a.m. Elkins HS
8:00 p.m. Dulles HS

Thursday, June 4, 2020

8:00 a.m. Clements HS
8:00 p.m. Marshall HS

Friday, June 5, 2020

8:00 a.m. Kempner HS
8:00 p.m. Travis HS

Saturday, June 6, 2020

8:00 a.m. Willowridge HS
8:00 p.m. Makeup Slot

Sunday, June 7, 2020

8:00 p.m. Makeup Slot

Monday, June 8, 2020

8:00 a.m. Makeup Slot

In April, Fort Bend ISD announced seniors will receive their diplomas and be considered graduates on May 28.

"The team of doctors advising us have determined it would be unsafe for students to gather at schools for the foreseeable future," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Elsewhere around the United States, some school systems are getting creative with their graduation plans.

Teachers and staff from Whitesburg Christian Academy in Alabama are organizing a drive-by graduation.

Students at one Pennsylvania high school will be pre-recording their graduation and screening it drive-in movie style.

"We can watch the entire ceremony that's based on the screen. So pre-record valedictorian, salutatorian speeches, administrative speeches, and then we would do a slide show of all the graduates," said Superintendent Nathan Barrett.

Seniors in Las Vegas anxiously wait to hear if they will go back to school.

"It definitely affects me in a way, due to all the years of hard work that I put into school and just the thought of potentially not walking across the stage," said Cam Murray.

Graduation is weighing heavily on the minds of high school seniors and parents.

"These are milestones that I don't want to miss out on, so it's pretty upsetting. They're special and they deserve to be celebrated," said one parent.

In California, a high school senior at Fountain Valley High is making custom yard signs to remind seniors that they're all in this together.

"Cause we're not in this alone, like the sign says, and just remember everyone's going through it," said Sydney Gill, a graduating senior.

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