May 21, 2020 UPDATE: Grad Drive 2020 - Details for Seniors
May 8, 2020 Graduation Update:
Dear Medford School District Senior Families,
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in our survey regarding options for graduation! We took your feedback to heart and talked it over with some of our seniors to come up with a graduation plan we hope fulfills some of our seniors’ wishes. These are extraordinary times, and we are heartbroken as educators when we consider all the traditions our senior class is having to do differently than ever before. It is a real loss, and we are sorry seniors are going through it.
The day after our survey was sent out, the Oregon Health Authority, in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Education, issued new guidelines for graduations. The new guidelines allow for gatherings of 24 (with social distancing in place) for high school graduations.
Through the survey feedback and in talking to seniors about all the options, the following priorities rose to the top for graduation:
- Being (physically) with friends, family, and teachers to the extent possible, as allowed by the State of Oregon.
- Being provided an opportunity for closure “sooner than later” and allowing ALL seniors to have that opportunity, noting that some of their peers will not be able to attend a ceremony at a later date.
- Being provided an opportunity to stand with their whole class (if possible) at a later date, noting that “standing together,” does not need to be a graduation ceremony.
Given those priorities, we have put together a four-pronged plan to celebrate the Class of 2020 (all events will accommodate social distancing and masks are encouraged):
Grad Drive (May 29 - Time TBD)
To honor the MSD tradition of “Grad Walk” (seniors wear caps and gowns and walk the halls of their elementary and middle schools) and the popularity of the parade option in our survey, the MSD will host “Grad Drive” for the Class of 2020! Seniors will have the opportunity to ride through town in school buses (10 per bus for social distancing) and visit their old elementary and middle schools, ending the drive at their respective high schools. Teachers and staff will stand outside of the schools with signs to greet and offer congratulations to the Class of 2020. A parade route will be published.
Class of 2020 Diploma Walks (May 30 for South and North High/June 4 for Central - Times TBD)
In response to feedback from seniors to provide an opportunity for them to be together to the extent possible as allowed by health authorities and to provide a sense of closure at the originally scheduled graduation date when all classmates are available to participate, the MSD will host Diploma Walks at each of our schools. Here’s what you can expect, many details still in the works:
- Seniors wear a cap and gown and come to school to receive their diploma!
- Graduates will walk in groups of seven and are allowed to bring two guests.
- A teacher/staff member will meet them in a designated parking area, walk them to a designated location on campus, read their name and hand them their diploma in front of their group of peers and select family members! (Schools will publish a process for students to sign-up for a staff member to walk with.)
- The group will move their tassels and toss their hats!
- Opportunity for socially-distanced photos.
A Tribute to Seniors: Gather at-home with your family and watch your school’s tribute to the Class of 2020. (May 30 for South and North High/June 4 for Central - Evening, Time TBD)
To provide elements of a traditional graduation ceremony and honor seniors’ wishes for a sense of closure on the originally scheduled date when all classmates are available to participate, schools will produce tributes to seniors:
- Posted online.
- Includes speeches by students, staff, and possibly guest speakers.
- Features songs by school musicians.
- Features collage of student photos.
A Community Celebration of the Class of 2020! (Later Date TBD - when restrictions are lifted)
To honor seniors’ wishes for a full class gathering when health restrictions are lifted, the MSD will set a date for each Class of 2020 to gather on their respective fields in cap and gown to create a life-size “Class of 2020” with their classmates.
- Community can gather in the stands and a photo will be taken from above.
- The school principal over loud speaker will announce the graduating class of 2020 for a full class hat toss.
- Gatherings to follow hosted by community groups.
This may not take the place of a traditional ceremony, but we hope it helps our seniors feel honored and loved and gives families and the community an opportunity to celebrate our Class of 2020. We know you probably have lots of questions and we will work to answer them as we work on the logistics of these events. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for your support,
Amy Herbst, Central Medford High School Principal
Dan Smith, North Medford High School Principal
Donnie Frazier South Medford High School Principal