Santa Clara Unified School District’s (SCUSD) Class of 2021 will have an opportunity that the Class of 2020 will not. Provided that the county remains in the Orange Tier or better, they will be allowed to attend an in-person graduation ceremony.
SCUSD is preparing for graduation ceremonies at all of its high schools. Middle schools and elementary schools will be able to have in-person promotion ceremonies for the students advancing to new schools.
Wilcox High School Principal Kristin Gonzalez says she’s excited to be able to offer this to her students.
“I remember going through this with our seniors last year and they were so devastated by all of this. It was so sudden. We left on a Friday and didn’t come back that Monday. That was hard to navigate,” said Gonzalez. “These seniors have been so gracious and patient with everything. It makes me emotional, like happy tears, to be able to offer this to them.”
“The seniors last year, they had several big events that we have senior year that they were able to be together and do all of these things together,” continued Gonzalez. “This senior class hasn’t had any of those. Last year, seniors had Winter Ball and Fantastics and Homecoming. This year’s seniors, they haven’t had that. So just the opportunity to be able to offer them this is a wonderful feeling.”
The Wilcox High School Class of 2021 is made up of approximately 440 students who all wanted to be together for this momentous occasion.
“We did a survey of our students and they were pretty clear that they want to be all together on our field in one graduation ceremony, rather than spreading it out and going like A through L will have one ceremony and last names M through Z [would have another ceremony],” said Gonzalez. “They were pretty clear that they’d like to be all together, which makes sense, they haven’t had that opportunity all year.”
All of SCUSD’s schools will follow the graduation guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health. That means they will issue tickets to graduation ceremonies. Guests of each student must live in the same household. Attendees will be assigned seats to ensure six-foot distance between each family group. Most graduation ceremonies will also be live-streamed to make sure those families that don’t feel comfortable attending in-person can still see the ceremony.
In addition to having graduation ceremonies, schools are working on other graduation events for the students. Gonzalez says the PTA is trying to set up a Senior Send-Off event for the students. Additionally, the school plans to have a professional photographer on campus to take pictures of the students in their caps and gowns. Graduation lawn signs are also expected to be back this year.
“Some of these things might be new traditions, who knows?” said Gonzalez. “Then, we might let go of some old traditions and pick up some new ones.”
High school graduation ceremonies are as follows:
- Mission Early College High School – May 28 at 4 p.m.;
- Wilson High School – May 28 at 6 p.m.;
- New Valley High School – June 1 at 6 p.m. at Wilson High School;
- Santa Clara High School – June 2 at 4 p.m. at the Santa Clara High School Stadium;
- Wilcox High School – June 2 at 6 p.m. at the Wilcox High School Stadium.