Class of 2020 Commencement Planning and Senior Events
Updated May 7, 2020 by Principal Mark Walter
Since the institution of the school closure and stay-at-home order, we have been working to plan for the “what if’s” related to celebrating the Class of 2020 with safe and responsible end-of-the-year events and Commencement. Our guiding principles have included the intent to give our seniors a dignified recognition, include all of our graduates, and provide a celebration that they have earned and that they and their families deserve. Until recently, our approach has been to postpone and reschedule both Prom and Commencement. In addition, we have planned and evaluated a student-only Commencement, an outdoor Commencement, and, our last resort has been planning for a virtual or alternative Commencement celebration in the event that we would not be able to gather.
Due to recent Ohio Department of Education guidance, Governor DeWine’s directive, the advice from the medical community, and directive from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, we are moving forward with alternative plans for the LHS Commencement. While we are still working on the many details, I wanted to provide you with the tentative plan, along with a few dates and windows of time to add to your schedule.
May 1: Deadline for voting on student-selected Commencement speaker. Link and student videos were emailed to seniors and is on Class of 2020 Google Classroom
May 2: Cap & Gown and Senior T-shirt pickup at LHS. Click here for detailed pickup information.
May 6: Senior T-Shirt Day: post on social media your student wearing senior shirt or other LHS shirt using #InThisTogetherLKWD or submit photos via email to LHSRangers@lakewoodcityschools.org
May 8: Due date for Then & Now Senior Video Survey Photos. Click here to submit photos of your graduate in Cap & Gown, an early picture, and a recent picture. Deadline extended to May 11!
May 8: Senior Apparel Day: Wear your college, vocational, or military apparel. Post on social media your student wearing senior apparel using #InThisTogetherLKWD or submit photos via email to LHSRangers@lakewoodcityschools.org
May 11: LHS staff members drop off to all graduates Class of 2020 yard signs, courtesy of LHS Student Council.
May 21: Senior Dress Up Day: Put on your prom outfit or other dress-up clothes and post to social media using #InThisTogetherLKWD or submit photos via email to LHSRangers@lakewoodcityschools.org
May 21: Then and Now Video shown on Seniors “scheduled” last day!
May 21: Seniors return school items (books, Chromebooks, etc) and pick up items (flower, yearbook, Career Passport, and locker contents, etc).
9:00 am - Last Names A-C
10:00 am - Last Names D-K
12:00 pm - Last Names L-R
1:00 pm - Last Names S-Z
Last Week of May/First Week of June: Single-Family Commencement: Up to four guests will have the opportunity to watch their graduate walk across the stage in Cap & Gown, have name read, receive diploma, and have a photo taken by a professional photographer. Families will sign up for time slots starting the week of May 11th. Social distancing will be in place for this event.
May 31: 10:00 a.m., Senior Spirit Parade: Families will be given the opportunity to drive their graduate in a parade starting from LHS and pass by Garfield and Harding before returning to LHS. The parade route can be viewed here. More details for logistics, expectations, will be forthcoming. Start thinking about decorating your vehicle now!
May 31: 1:30 p.m., Virtual Commencement airs with Cap & Gown photos of each student.
(Actual diploma, photo, and commemorative picture frame* delivered at later date.)
*Thank you to LHS PTA for their generous support
Week of June 15: Additional footage of single-family ceremony and Senior Parade added to virtual Commencement ceremony available for viewing.
June 25: Prom at Botanical Gardens (tentative based on further guidelines on social distancing)
Q: Why don’t we wait to see if we can have a large group ceremony in July or August?
A: There is no guarantee that we will be permitted to hold a large scale event this summer or even into the fall. By waiting we may lose the chance for any type of ceremony. In addition, we have students who will be leaving for the military shortly after graduation and we would not want them to miss out on Commencement. Also, families have planned vacations and might not be available on a rescheduled date.
Q: Why don’t we hold Commencement in a larger venue like First Federal Stadium, Lakewood Park, or another venue like the Rocket Mortgage Field House, Progressive Field, or Browns Stadium?
A: Although a larger or outdoor venue provides more opportunity for social distancing, we still must follow the 10-person limit. The Health Department explained in a direct conversation that they will not approve of any plan that includes more than 10 people.
Q: I’ve heard other schools are still holding traditional in-person graduation. If they are doing it, why can’t we?
A: The simple answer is that schools are not holding a large-scale event graduation in the state of Ohio. Every principal spoken to is holding some type of virtual or drive-through graduation ceremony. The Health Department stated that any school doing so would be in violation of the Governor’s directive.
Q: I am uncomfortable and/or have a health condition that puts me at risk. Do I have to participate in the single-family ceremony at the Civic?
A: No, the single-family ceremony is completely optional. All graduates who have completed the Cap & Gown photo will be recognized during the virtual Commencement ceremony. Diplomas will be delivered to any student not participating.
Q: Can we drive other graduates in the Senior Spirit Parade?
A: No, to keep within social distancing guidelines only members of the household and immediate family members may ride in a car during the parade. For safety reasons, a family member should drive the vehicle so the graduate is not distracted and can enjoy the event.
Q: Will the community be invited to watch the Senior Spirit Parade?
A: Yes, we will be working with the city's public relations department to encourage the community to come out and watch the procession using proper social distancing.
Q: What about Prom? Is it cancelled?
A: If current directives from the State and County Board of Health limiting gatherings of 10 or less remain through June, then unfortunately we will need to cancel Prom. At this time we have not given up our reservation if, by chance, the rules on large-scale gatherings are lifted.