Northern and Southern Garrett High School Graduating Class of 2020,
The experience of high school is truly different for each student. One rite of passage that has always been formal and traditional is the annual graduation ceremony. Through all of the challenges, you persevered and continued learning virtually at home. Each of you has reached the pinnacle of your high school career and is ready to graduate. You have earned your diploma and earned the right to walk across the stage to receive it. We are so proud of your accomplishments and the can-do attitude you have displayed since learning of the closure back in March. None of us could predict or even imagine that months later we would be facing the challenge of honoring each of you while still adhering to a set of restrictions designed to protect our own health and of our loved ones. This year’s annual ceremony may be a little less traditional and may be experienced differently by each student, just like your own high school career. Our hope is to provide you with an experience that you will always remember and one that will be a fitting tribute to the wonderful class of 2020!
Mrs. Baker, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Maddy, and Dr. Miller
GCPS is pleased to present the following information in regard to graduation for both Northern and Southern High Schools. Graduation for both schools will be a mix of “virtual” and in person. A montage of videos including the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches, as well as the class president’s speech, will be put together with video of students walking across the stage in their caps and gowns and receiving their diploma* from the Superintendent to create the “virtual ceremony”. The videos will be released on June 20, 2020, via social media and the GCPS website. The Northern Garrett High School (NGHS) video will be released at 10:00 AM, and the Southern Garrett High School (SGHS) will be released at 2:00 PM. In addition to the virtual ceremony, plans are underway to hold an in-person celebration on July 25, 2020 as well. However, please understand that the in-person celebration may only take place if the Governor moves Maryland into Stage 3 of recovery no later than July 11, 2020. If the Governor does not move to Stage 3 by July 11, the in-person events will unfortunately be cancelled.
Details of the students recording their walk across the stage is as follows:
- The recording of students will take place at the CARC at Garrett College for both high schools.
- NGHS will schedule appointments with students beginning on Wednesday, May 20 and continuing through Friday, May 22.
- SGHS will schedule appointments with students beginning on Tuesday, May 26 and continuing through Monday, June 1.
- Every effort will be made to have all cords, stoles, and other regalia earned by the student available at the appointment to include in the stage walk and for pictures.
- Appointments will be made in 10-minute intervals and each student will be allowed to bring 5 guests with them. Students and guests must wear masks while inside and maintain social distancing. Students may remove the mask as they prepare to make their way onto the stage. Masks may stay off for the diploma presentation and for pictures. However, no one, including the students, should attend if they are feeling ill in any way.
- The student will enter the main gymnasium entrance at their respective time with their family. The principal will call the student’s name, and the student will walk across the stage to receive his or her diploma from the Superintendent. Handshaking will not be permitted.
- Family members may take pictures of the student in his or her cap and gown on the stage and cheer for their child.
- The student and family will exit the back exit (not the same as the entrance) into the parking lot to depart. There should be no congregating in the parking lot with other students and families. When the student's appointment is over, they should leave the premises.
- There will be no seats for family members. Each of the five guests of the student will be asked to stand and watch the proceedings, so there will be no contact with chairs that would need to repeatedly be disinfected.
This plan has been approved by the Garrett County Health Department and Garrett College. In order to host the event, students and families must abide by the conditions outlined above.
*Just as with traditional graduation, students will be presented with a diploma cover. Actual diplomas will be distributed at a later date when all graduation requirements are verified.
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