SAN TAN VALLEY — The J.O. Combs Unified School District, faced with a tough choice as to how to proceed with graduation, has chosen to include multiple options for students.
May 19 will be the big day, with both a virtual and in-person ceremony. It begins with a graduation parade that will begin at 6:30 p.m. with students standing 6 feet apart around campus while families and community members drive by to celebrate them. Nobody will be allowed outside the vehicles, so all signs and noise-making must be done at a distance.
After the parade, everyone can come home to watch a graduation video that will include each graduate’s photo and a video clip while their name is read. The video will also include speeches from students and administrators as well as performances. This will be considered the official graduation.
Then on June 9, the district plans to hold an in-person graduation ceremony for all those who choose to participate. Graduates will be seated 6 feet apart on the field, and it is not yet determined whether anybody will be allowed to sit in the stands. Regardless, the event will be filmed so families can watch the graduates accept diplomas.
“We are acutely aware that the way the school year is ending for our 2020 graduates is all too unfair. They have been stripped of memories with friends, opportunities in athletics, band and theatre performances, and the celebration of key milestones that they’ve worked toward for years,” said Superintendent Greg Wyman in a letter to families. “Despite these challenges, our graduates continue to represent a shining light of remarkable achievement, perseverance and resilience, and we couldn’t be more proud. We know how important this milestone is for our students and families, and we are committed to making this a memorable and safe celebration for our seniors and their loved ones.”