April 21, 2020—Shaker Heights Schools is moving ahead with plans to hold a virtual commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Wednesday, June 3.
Our decision to pursue this option was made with the health and safety of our graduates, staff and commencement guests as our top priority and follows Governor DeWine’s announcement earlier this week that schools are closed for the remainder of the school year. In addition, the District is adhering to Governor DeWine’s recommendation that districts plan alternatives to end-of-school year celebrations and commencements, since large gatherings of people still present a “dangerous situation” and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
We understand that this news is disappointing for our seniors and family members who hoped to celebrate this important and special event in person. While a virtual commencement is not what any of us planned for, at this time we believe it is the best way to ensure that our graduates have a ceremony to honor their accomplishments.
To that end, the District is developing virtual commencement plans with our long-time graduation live-stream partner, Classic Teleproductions, to produce a ceremony that will be both meaningful and memorable for our students and families. Classic Teleproductions has 40 years of broadcast and award-winning video production experience working on behalf of the nation’s top networks on live and pre-recorded events.
Our expectation is that students will still receive their caps and gowns by mail for a virtual ceremony. We also will invite students to submit a short video wearing their caps and gowns that will be shown when their names are announced. Specific details about the virtual commencement ceremony will be shared with seniors and senior families in the near future so that everyone can plan accordingly.
We also look forward to celebrating our seniors in other public ways, including a yard sign campaign so that families with graduates and community members alike can show their support for graduates. We will share information about this campaign later this week.
Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to celebrating and recognizing our 2020 graduates.