GISH graduation still planned for May 17, but will be online

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 8:43 AM CDT
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It won't be the normal graduation ceremony for seniors at Grand Island Senior High, but the district says they will make it as close to a traditional one as possible.

During a senior meeting Wednesday night, Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Tawana Grover said the graduation ceremony will happen on May 17. It will happen online and not in-person due to COVID-19.

Grover said student safety is their number one priority, but she did want to acknowledge the seniors. She said thinking how drastically this final year has been altered for them has been tough.

"It's even tougher to imagine a graduation ceremony that does not have you physically present, where we get the chance to shake your hands and look you in the eyes one last time," she added.

So as of right now, the plan is to have it as close to an actual ceremony can be, just without people gathering in the same place.

Executive Principal Jeff Gilbertson said students will receive their diploma, cap and gown as well as a program the week before.

It will go in order as previous ceremonies including the National Anthem, speeches and even a class song.

Instead of seniors walking to get their diplomas, each student will be recognized with their name read and image of them appearing.

The ceremony will be streamed online for families and friends to take part.

Grover said there had been a lot of questions regarding postponement, but she said even Governor Ricketts has mentioned during one of his press conferences that it could be the second half of the summer before restrictions start to ease, plus you have to worry about bounce back and if the virus returns in the fall. Because of this, Grover said keeping the May 17 date is critical.

Grover told the group watching the video stream that as she's watched this pandemic spike, even in our community, she's realized how it's not only how we prepared the students but the task now is greater.

"It becomes how we protect you so that you can make it to the other side of this pandemic and you have a chance of living out your future plans," she said.

Grover did not address prom or other events during the meeting, but said those will likely come at a later date.

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