At Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, Principal Travis Duley said after a few years of planning graduation ceremonies, “you kind of get robotic with it.”
In other words, the ceremony remains largely the same, with the biggest change each year being the graduates.
That certainly won’t be the case this year as PBL joins most of the high schools in the area in planning an outdoor ceremony due to the COVID-19 restrictions. For many, this will be the first outdoor ceremonies they have held.
“You’re rethinking everything you’ve done,” said Duley, in his seventh year helming the high school. “In this case, we’re moving from our gym to the football field and track area.
“I think once we get out there, it’s fairly simple. I think it’s shifting our mindset to ‘This is how we do it.’
“We want to make sure we’re providing a safe environment for the kids and any guests, and also giving a graduation that’s suitable.”
Last year’s event was a hybrid version of graduation.
The pandemic forced a switch to individual ceremonies. Graduation was split over three days. One student at a time, with a maximum of four guests, was allowed in.
As “Pomp and Circumstance” played, the student walked into the gymnasium and picked up their diploma.
This year, the 94 students scheduled to receive their diplomas will be have a little more pomp with their circumstance — albeit outdoors.
PBL’s graduation is tentatively set for 7 p.m. May 28, with a rain date of 10 a.m. May 29.
Graduates will be sitting socially distanced on the track, with families sitting on the football field in socially distanced designated areas.
The number of guests each graduate will be allowed to invite has not yet been determined. Each graduate will also be provided with a photo and a video.
Armstrong Township High School
Superintendent Bill Mulvaney said an in-person graduation will be held at 3 p.m. May 23.
He said it has not been determined what the logistics will be.
“Probably outside with no limits, unless it has to be moved inside, and then there would be a ticket limit,” Mulvaney said.
Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin High School
Graduation will be held at 1:30 p.m. May 23 on the football field. It has not been determined if attendance will be limited.
“In some ways, the decisions that we are making now are more difficult than a year ago,” Principal Brent Rademacher said.
Chrisman High School
A May 23 graduation is planned, but additional details are in the works. The number of tickets and capacity could change depending on state restrictions.
“We have a very small senior class this year, so we are hopeful that there will be few, if any, restrictions on number of guests each student can bring,” Principal Cole Huber said.
Danville High School
No final plans have yet been made.
“It is our hope that our seniors will be able to enjoy some sort of normalcy,” Superintendent Alicia Geddis said. “They can expect that no matter the conditions,
Ms. Cherry, the DHS team and I will go above and beyond to make this a joyous occasion for our students and parents.”
Oakwood High School
Graduation will be held May 22 on the football field. No time was given. The number of tickets has not been determined.
“I am (hoping) to having a graduation that is as close to our traditional one as possible,” Superintendent Timothy Lee said. “We’ve got a great group of seniors, and we want to honor them as best as we can.”
Salt Fork High School
An in-person outdoor ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 30 at the football field, with a rain date of 5 p.m. May 31.
Salt Fork will abide by Vermilion County Health Department guidelines in regard to attendance.
“Our seniors have shown determination and resiliency throughout this pandemic, and the Salt Fork community is looking forward to celebrating this graduation milestone with this in person,” Superintendent Phil Cox said.