Administrators are preparing to provide an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, one that will look very different from recent Perryville High School commencements.
“Our first priority is, of course, the safety of our students and community,” said Principal Jeff Steffens. “Our next priority is to provide our graduating seniors and their parents with a memorable ceremony to recognize our students’ achievement.”
PHS Commencement will be held at the Pirate Football Stadium on Friday, May 22 beginning at 8 pm. The event is NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, but will be livestreamed on Facebook, and recorded and shared on the District 32 Website.
This year’s 164 graduating seniors and immediate family members who live with them — parents and stepparents — will be allowed to attend, up to a total of 6 people per family including the graduate. The football field will be painted with 12×12 foot areas for each graduate plus parents, with 6-foot aisles between boxes. Faculty members will escort each graduate and their parents from their vehicle to their assigned spot on the field; all persons must remain in their area until escorted back to vehicles.
“Each graduate will have their name called to come to the stage area to receive their diploma,” Steffens said. “We’ll be forgoing traditional handshakes and photo poses on the stage. Our top graduates will still deliver speeches, as will the class president and the commencement speaker. “We received approval from the city and county to hold this modified ceremony, with the understanding that any changes in our community status of COVID-19 cases, or future orders from the state or local health departments, may necessitate the move to a virtual ceremony.
“We are placing a great deal of trust in our students, their families and our community to observe all of the social-distancing rules and the processes we’ve put in place for graduation. If uninvited people crowd into the stadium, we will be required to shut down the commencement. Please plan to watch the livestream or view the video when it’s posted on our website. We don’t want to ruin this once-in-a-lifetime event for our seniors and their parents.”
In case of rain, the event will be held at 8 pm Saturday, May 23. Students will receive additional information via school email.