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Smyrna High holding 10 small graduation ceremonies

Ben Mace
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna High School

The Smyrna High School administrative team announced the plans for the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 in a letter to seniors and on the school’s website.

“While we would all love to be able to celebrate in ‘normal’ fashion, the current safety restrictions in place for the State of Delaware do not permit us to do so,” the letter stated. “Therefore, we have planned what we hope will still provide a memorable experience for you and maintain a safe environment for all involved.”

Principal Stacy Cook said the plan was developed by the high school staff, school administrators and district administrators during multiple Zoom meetings.

"We wanted a plan that would allow the students to graduate with peers rather than each individual by his/herself and also with more than two guests to share in the celebration," said Cook. "An additional factor was the comfort of the graduates and guests with regard to the hot temperatures in late July. The metal bleachers and turf field of the stadium are not reasonable to use for any length of time. Of course, another important factor was sanitation and safety precautions with regard to the Covid-19 virus. Considering all of these factors, we believe our current plan is the best balance for the celebration."

Graduation on Saturday, July 25 will be 10 separate live sessions for the presentation of diplomas for the graduates. Each session will last 30 minutes and will include a maximum of 40 graduates. The first session begins at 4 p.m. and the last session begins at 8:30 p.m.

Graduates were told to select their session during signups from July 15 to 8 a.m. July 22 using this link:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508094FA8AB2BA3FB6-smyrna.

The school will show the live sessions on Facebook live. Speeches and music performances will be prerecorded and shared using a link on the high school’s social media platforms. 

Each graduate is allowed two vehicles including the graduate and guests. The graduate must arrive in one of the vehicles and shouldn’t be the driver. Parking passes sent to each senior should be filled out ahead of time by the graduate and placed on the dash of each vehicle.

The graduate should be dressed in cap and gown when arriving and must wear a school-appropriate face mask while on campus.

Vehicles will enter the campus using the Clayton-side entrance near the tennis courts and proceed to the check-in location at the back parking lot.

After check-in is complete, the graduate will enter the school using the ag science entrance. Staff will direct the vehicles to park in the appropriate lot for their session. Please do not arrive earlier than the designated arrival time for the session.

Please do not arrive late for the assigned session. Once a session begins, no one will be able to enter the area designated for the ceremony.

Guests will stay at their vehicles in the parking lot which has a view of the area where the graduates will be. Guests must stay at their vehicles at all times, maintain social distancing from anyone that didn’t arrive with them and wear a mask.

Staff in the building will assist graduates with lining up. At the start of the session the graduates will proceed out of the auditorium lobby doors maintaining social distancing and sit in seats under the tent outside of the auditorium lobby.

Each student’s name will be read after Superintendent Patrik Williams reads the graduation affirmation. Each student will receive his/her diploma at the podium and will have a picture taken by a professional photographer and return to his or her seat. Each graduate will receive a complimentary graduation photo.

After all graduates in the session have been recognized, the graduates will turn their tassels and be dismissed to the vehicle they arrived in.

Vehicles will be directed out of the Smyrna-side parking lot to either exit campus or park in the front and Clayton-side lots for pictures. There will be two locations for picture opportunities. Students and guests may choose to stay on campus to use the picture locations but must maintain social distancing from other groups, park in the front or Clayton-side lots, and exit the campus no later than the designated deadline for their session.

Everyone on campus must wear a protective mask at all times according to state and CDC guidelines.

In case of rain, the ceremonies will be moved to Sunday, July 26 with the first session at 9 a.m. and the last session at 1:30 p.m.