Superintendent's letter about 2020 virtual graduation

posted Apr 20, 2020, 1:53 PM by Anthony Sandstrom
The following letter was sent to District 60 seniors and their families by Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso on April 20, 2020:

Dear D60 Seniors and Families, 

I am writing to provide an update regarding the Class of 2020 graduation. The decision to move to a virtual graduation ceremony was made in light of the current and anticipated orders regarding stay-at-home orders, social distancing requirements and restrictions on large gatherings. This very difficult decision was made with the safety of our students, staff, families and community in mind. The virtual graduation will take place on the same dates and times as the already scheduled 2020 Graduation:
  • Paragon/Dutch Clark: Thursday, May 28, 6 p.m.
  • Centennial High School: Friday, May 29, 3 p.m.
  • Central High School: Friday, May 29, 7 p.m.
  • South High School: Saturday, May 30, 8 a.m.
  • East High School: Saturday, May 30, noon
To the extent possible, the virtual graduation ceremony will replicate as many components of an in-person graduation ceremony, including student speeches, honors and student recognition, etc. The ceremony will be streamed for families to view from the comfort and safety of their own homes. 

We will begin the distribution of caps, gowns and announcements beginning the week of April 20. This distribution will be a drive-through pick up process as we will take all necessary precautions and implement social distancing measures. We have communicated directly to our graduating seniors that they can pick up their items from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the locations listed below:
  • East High School: Monday, April 20
  • Centennial High School: Tuesday, April 21
  • Central High School: Wednesday, April 22
  • South High School: Thursday, April 23
Recently, I had the honor of meeting with approximately 22 student leader representatives from the senior Class of 2020. In our nearly two-hour virtual meeting, students were able to provide input and share thoughts regarding distance learning and virtual graduation planning. The voice of our students is extremely important as we move forward in finishing this school year strongly, and honor and celebrate the Class of 2020.  

During my meeting with students, we spent considerable time discussing the decision to move toward a virtual graduation. In addition, we discussed other possibilities, options and ideas. Clearly, the decision to move to a virtual ceremony was made based upon an unpredictable, uncertain, and ever-changing future amidst COVID19. It was based upon our best guess of what type of restrictions may exist when we arrive at graduation time. In the event that all restrictions are lifted and large gatherings are permitted, and we can safely provide an in-person graduation ceremony on those dates, we most definitely will.  

Although we know an in-person ceremony is everybody’s preference, in order to provide each student the opportunity to be recognized at this significant milestone, we must plan immediately to execute a virtual ceremony in the event an in-person graduation is not possible. The students also discussed the possibility of a ceremony or recognition at a later date, such as December, or next year with the Class of 2021. We will certainly leave the door open for a recognition and/or celebration of the Class of 2020 at a future date. 

As we move forward with planning and identifying details for the virtual graduation ceremony, we will continue to communicate to students and families. 

I want to close by reflecting on my meeting with our seniors. Students were able to express and share the difficulty of this journey, their loss, grief and pain, and the challenges of the new reality we are currently living in. In addition, they expressed their resolve, their problem-solving, their resiliency, their gratitude, and their empathy for others. The Class of 2020 are incredible leaders and bright lights! Rest assured, our future is in great hands as these students are our future leaders. 

Charlotte Macaluso
Superintendent of Schools
Radford Sprouse,
Apr 20, 2020, 2:06 PM