EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a message that was sent by Noblesville Schools to graduating seniors and their parents this week. It is from NHS Principal Dr. Craig McCaffrey. The Times presents it as sent.
I know all of you have anxiously been waiting to hear about our plan for graduation. We took our time to carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation and review all possible options.
Many factors have gone into our decision about graduation, and here are some primary factors that were considered as top priorities:
1. Safety: In light of the current pandemic, it’s especially important that our graduation is safe for everyone involved including students, parents, family, faculty and staff. We want to be attentive to our public health responsibilities and do not want to put anyone in a situation where they are unsafe.
2. Opportunity to Attend: Many of our seniors and their families plan their summer based on our scheduled graduation date of June 6th. This includes students who have enlisted in the military and will be heading to basic training after the ceremony. Our goal is for all of our graduating seniors to participate in graduation. Moving our graduation date further into the summer would prohibit some seniors from participating.
Additionally, the Indiana Department of Education has advised that “postponing graduations presents a challenge due to the evolving nature of this disease. Postponement carries the risk COVID-19 circumstances may be no different or worse later in the summer than at the present time. The manner in which this virus will progress is unknown.” We agree with the Department’s recommendation and feel it is best to proceed with the current known factors.
3. Celebration: To celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2020, we are following a multi-tier system of acknowledgments. Some of these extra acknowledgments have already begun with yard signs, banners in downtown Noblesville and a professionally-produced senior class video in the works. Additionally, we have several graduation celebrations planned (please see below).
Graduation Celebrations
Celebration 1: Virtual Ceremony: Our formal graduation ceremony will be virtual this year. This provides maximum safety while allowing everyone to participate. The ceremony will stream online on June 6, 2020, at 3:00 PM which is our original graduation date and time. We will be in communication at a later date as to the online location of our streaming graduation.
This ceremony will include all of the same components as our in-person ceremony including speeches, certification of graduates, individual student recognition, and tassel turning. We encourage families to have viewing parties that follow appropriate social distancing guidelines to help make this special for their senior(s). Encourage your student to wear their cap, gown, medal, and tassel and participate in the virtual ceremony. Celebrate with pictures after the ceremony!
Note: We will be scheduling a time on June 8th for seniors to be able to come back to campus to pick up their diploma, drop off their IPAD and books, drop off any other school items, and retrieve personal items from their lockers. The plan for this will be sent out at a later date and will flow alphabetically like the cap and gown pick up. More details to follow.
Celebration 2: Senior Celebration Drive-Thru: On Monday, June 1, 2020 seniors will do a campus drive-thru to allow faculty and staff to celebrate the class and wave goodbye. For this drive-thru, each senior will be permitted to have one vehicle, which they can decorate in order to make the occasion more festive. Seniors are permitted to have family members in the vehicle with them, but everyone will be required to stay in their single vehicle. In order to ensure the safety of our faculty and staff, this celebration WILL NOT be a public event- only seniors and their families, faculty, and staff will be permitted on campus. Students and families will be required to stay in their vehicle. More details on this event will follow.
Celebration 3: Graduation Stage Photo Opportunity (tentative): In July we hope to set up a graduation stage and allow graduates and their families to schedule a time to come into the school for a photo opportunity. This would be an optional scheduled event for each individual graduate. As of now, the governor has closed all school buildings through June 30. Please note that this option is tentative and will be dependent on the status of the pandemic and recommended safety guidelines. If we are able to offer this opportunity, we will be in contact with further details.
Celebration 4: Senior Walk and Cookout (tentative): In the fall, we would like to honor the Class of 2020 by completing a celebration walk through the school halls. Afterwards, we will host their Senior cook-out. More details to follow. This option is tentative. If we are able to offer this opportunity, we will be in contact with further details.
Celebration 5: Class of 2020 Recognition at Homecoming (tentative): We hope to invite the class of 2020 to come to Homecoming next fall for a special recognition. This option is tentative and will be dependent on the status of the pandemic and recommended safety guidelines. If we are able to offer this opportunity, we will be in contact with further details.
We want to thank all members of the class of 2020 for your positive contributions during your years with us at Noblesville High School. As you know, our whole community is sad to see your high school careers end this way and we know how much honoring this important milestone means to you and your families. Please know we have worked hard to express how much the Class of 2020 is appreciated, valued and will always be remembered. We are sorry that your high school career is ending this way, but we will do our best to let you know that you are appreciated.
Dr. Craig McCaffrey