LCHS plans to hold virtual graduation ceremony

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

STANFORD – The cheering crowd might be missing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but Lincoln County students will still get a chance to walk across the stage and receive their high school diplomas.

Lincoln County High School Principal Michael Godbey met with senior class officers to put together a plan to honor the Class of 2020 amid the current restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lincoln County Board of Education discussed those plans during last Thursday’s online meeting.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s not ideal for us at this time, we know that. We’d love to have a normal ceremony where students would be able to walk across the stage but at this point we just cannot do that,” said Superintendent Michael Rowe. “So the recommendation is a virtual graduation.”

The virtual graduation will start on May 18 and run through May 22 with students alphabetically walking across the stage. The sessions will be from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

“Basically what this will do, this will allow each senior to walk across the stage with two other individuals and get a diploma,” Rowe said. “This is what the kids want and I think it’s the best we can provide in this COVID-19 epidemic.”

The goal is to combine all of the individual videos together for a complete graduation video, including speeches from the Senior Class President, Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

Each portion of the ceremony will be recorded professionally and compiled into a DVD for seniors.

Rowe said the school district may also be able to show the graduation ceremony at the Stanford Drive-In Theater. That’s something the Pulaski County School District is doing, he added.

“I know we have a drive-in theater here, we could reach out. Maybe that’s a possibility,” he said.

According to LCHS Principal Michael Godbey, all CDC guidelines will be followed while students are on campus for the virtual ceremony.

Only one car per graduate will be allowed and occupants can only include the graduate and immediate family members.

Graduates will enter campus five minutes prior to their scheduled time and proceed to their assigned parking spot where staff will be directing traffic. Students will be required to stay in their cars until directed to enter the gym lobby.

Only one family will be allowed in the gym at a time and traditional graduation dress code will be followed.

Each graduate will walk across the stage in the gym to receive their diploma, while names and credentials are read.

Students will also be given a chance to walk through the LCHS building one last time, following a guided route.

Families and students will be required to exit the campus immediately following the ceremony.

Godbey said a detailed letter will be sent out to parents this week.

On April 21 teachers delivered yard signs to each of the school’s 275 graduating seniors.

Principal Michael Godbey and LCHS senior Riley Bodner were featured in a recent article by the New York Times which detailed how principals are finding ways to honor seniors during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Students posted photos on Facebook of themselves standing next to the sign using the hashtags “Seniors2020” and “TEAMLincoln.”

School board members unanimously approved the graduation plan and agreed it was the best way to honor seniors during the COVID-19 shutdown.