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WCPS High Schools Prepare for Virtual Commencement Ceremonies

Due to the current public health restrictions prohibiting large gatherings, the high schools of Wicomico County Public Schools are preparing to air virtual commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 on the time and date when the in-person ceremony was scheduled. Senior families have already received email and phone notification of these plans.

In preparation for the virtual commencement ceremonies, schools will safely distribute caps, gowns, cords and hoods to seniors May 11 and 12. Each senior’s car should have a sign with the student’s name clearly visible, to facilitate quick and safe service. During this drive-by visit seniors of each school will also return any textbooks and other school materials that are no longer needed. (Laptops issued for distance learning and any textbooks still needed to prepare for AP exams will be returned at a later date.)

On May 18-19, students and adults who are giving speeches will record them in the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. Seniors will walk in cap and gown for traditional diploma cover photos at an assigned time between May 19-22, with up to four parents present. Photos from this day will be included in each school’s virtual commencement ceremony, and will be available for students and parents.

Virtual commencement ceremonies will air on PAC 14 as follows. The videos will also be available on YouTube (PAC 14 and Wicomico County Public Schools) to view and download.

 

Wicomico Evening High: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 28

Evening High will conduct its entire spring commencement virtually. It will record a handful of speeches on May 14th. Photos are being collected from seniors to include in the virtual commencement ceremony that will air on May 28.

 

Parkside High: 7 p.m. Friday, May 29

May 12: Pickup of cap, gown etc. from 9-11 a.m., Parkside bus ramp (off of Schumaker Drive).

May 20-22: Each senior will have an assigned day/time to come to the front entrance of the school to walk in cap and gown and have diploma cover photos taken.

 

Wicomico High: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30

May 12: Pickup of cap, gown etc. from 9-11 a.m. parking lot off Long Avenue.

May 20-22: Each senior will have an assigned day/time to come to Wicomico County Stadium to walk in cap and gown and have diploma cover photos taken.

 

James M. Bennett High: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 30

May 11: Pickup of cap, gown etc. from 3-5 p.m., JMB Auditorium parking lot. Each senior will be given an assigned day/time to walk May 19-22.

May 19-22: Each senior will have an assigned day/time to come to the Shipyard Stadium to walk in cap and gown and have diploma cover photos taken.

 

Mardela High: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30

May 11: Pickup of cap, gown etc. from 4-6 p.m., by the MMHS gym entrance.

May 19-20: Seniors will walk for cap/gown/diploma cover photos from 11:45 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. May 19, and from 8:45 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. May 20. Each senior was assigned a day/time in an email sent to senior families.

 

Preparations for Virtual Commencement Ceremonies

All of the tasks that are part of virtual commencement ceremonies will be done while maintaining social distancing and practicing federal- and state-recommended cleaning procedures to protect the health and safety of all involved. Participation in these activities is optional. If a student or parent does not feel comfortable participating, the senior will still be included in the virtual commencement ceremony through the senior yearbook photo.

On the days that students walk for photos and for parents, the senior and family will have an assigned parking space in which to wait in their vehicle until it is their turn to proceed to the field or other location where traditional diploma cover pictures will be taken. Each school will provide detailed instructions on site and in advance, through a SchoolMessenger call/email to senior families. Students do not need to wear a mask, though they may do so if they choose. The student will be able to check their cap, gown, tassel (right side), and any hoods or cords in a mirror that will be provided.

Each student will be allowed up to four parents who will be directed to where to watch the student walk and then rejoin the student for photos. Parents will need to maintain physical distancing and wear masks. They are welcome to take and post phone video as the student is announced and walks with the diploma cover to the photo spot, to share the moment with other family members and friends.

School staff members who have volunteered and school resource officers will be on hand to guide students and parents through the process. These adults will be masked throughout the event. They will not make physical contact with students or family members.

Even though WCPS high schools are capturing graduation-style photos May 19-22, seniors are not finished when they complete this task. School will continue for seniors through their last day on Friday, May 22. Diplomas will be mailed at a later date, along with copies of the commencement program and any other senior awards or paperwork.