The pomp and circumstance will be far less this year, but seniors in Beaufort County high schools will have their chance to walk across the stage. With South Carolina schools shut down for the remainder of the academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, district high schools are planning a creative approach to graduation ceremonies that include commemorative videos as well as drive-through celebrations for students and their families.
“With the numbers of COVID-19 infections projected to increase during the coming weeks, our goal is to celebrate the Class of 2020’s accomplishments as safely as possible for everyone concerned,” said Superintendent Frank Rodriguez. “Our students haven’t been able to experience a number of exciting things normally associated with senior celebrations, so we want to create something memorable and fun.”
District high schools will schedule specific times for graduating seniors to bring two guests apiece to their schools. Small groups of 10 socially distanced students will then be video-recorded as they hear their names and walk across their school’s stage in caps and gowns. Each student’s two guests will be able to watch while socially distancing in the auditorium.
Everyone entering the school will be required to wear a mask, although students may remove their masks prior to crossing the stage. In addition, nurses will check the temperatures of all students and guests, and no one with a temperature higher than 100 degrees will be allowed to participate.
Speeches from principals, senior class valedictorians, salutatorians and Superintendent Rodriguez will be recorded in advance, and video of all graduates walking across their school’s stage will be edited into a complete movie that will be posted to the district’s YouTube channel on the day of each school’s previously scheduled graduation ceremonies.
In addition to its commemorative graduation movie, each high school will schedule a celebratory “drive-through celebration” where families can accompany graduates to their school’s campuses and be cheered by school staff and community dignitaries.
Each high school will contact its graduating seniors and their families with details on its video-recording schedules and drive-through graduation celebrations. The district’s six high school graduation movie premieres and drive-through celebrations are set for:
• June 1 – Battery Creek High
• June 2 – Beaufort High
• June 3 – May River High
• June 4 – Whale Branch Early College High
• June 5 – Hilton Head Island High
• June 6 – Bluffton High