The end of the 2019-2020 school year is fast approaching, and this is the time when we would normally be planning the highly anticipated and exciting graduations for our deserving seniors. Unfortunately, the current circumstances caused by COVID-19 prohibit us from currently celebrating the physical graduations so longed for by students and their families after so much effort and sacrifice. We know that graduations are part of a very significant chapter in the educational journey of our youth, and we are doing everything we can to ensure seniors do not miss out on this momentous occasion.
In order to ensure that all input was considered during the celebration planning stages for the Class of 2020, we conducted virtual meetings with senior class representatives, as well solicited feedback from other stakeholders including parents, to determine the best way to approach graduation ceremonies, given the restrictions that are currently preventing large in-person gatherings.
After taking into account all of the feedback, we have determined we will have virtual graduation ceremonies at the end of this school year, followed by traditional graduations with all of the pomp and circumstance our seniors have earned, when conditions improve; either later in the summer or in the winter, depending on the guidance of medical experts.
For the virtual graduation ceremonies, we are making every effort to follow the graduation dates and times that have already been scheduled, though some flexibility in scheduling may be required. All ceremonies will be broadcast online, and media partners have committed to showcasing some of these events as well. The virtual graduations will include students, as well as school, region, and District administrators and Board Members. During each ceremony, the photo of each graduating senior will be displayed while the student’s name is announced. Parents and guests will also have the opportunity to remotely attend virtual graduation ceremonies.
Additionally, we are doing all we can to ensure all seniors are honored, not only by their teachers, classmates, and loved ones, but also by the entire community. We have launched a dynamic four-week marketing campaign through which, along with the media, we will encourage our entire community to join in a celebration of our graduates, culminating on May 20 with a “Senior Recognition Day.”
During the week of April 27, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) highlighted seniors who have received university and athletic scholarships. The week of May 4-8, military graduates will be honored as well as students who have outstanding achievements, such as exemplary community service. From May 11 -15, those students who represent the top 10 percent in each class will be highlighted as well as those nominated for Silver Knight Awards. We will culminate these efforts by honoring all graduates the following week.
On May 20, schools will be encouraged to post class photos and students are being asked to share videos of their favorite senior year memory. We ask that our community join this celebration by posting special messages of encouragement in the form of photos or videos on social media using the following hashtags: #MDCPSGrad, #Classof2020, #MeetMDCPSGrads and #SeniorSpotlight.
Our graduates and families deserve our full support and appreciation. In these coming weeks, let’s come together to promote and recognize the hard work of our graduates who so ably represent the future of our community and nation.