Posted Date: 05/15/2020
Union High School has decided to add a “Seniors-Only” Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, July 23, at Union’s Tuttle Field (time TBD), after the district had decided earlier this week to move to a “virtual” graduation ceremony. While the virtual graduation on Monday, June 15, will go on as planned, the district has elected to add an in-person ceremony for graduating seniors only.
In a letter to seniors and parents, Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler acknowledged, “This has indeed been an unfair situation for the graduating class of 2020. One thing’s for sure: The desire to celebrate our seniors’ achievements is universal, and we want nothing more than to make this happen for them. After much feedback and input from parents and students, we have decided to move forward with planning for a modified traditional graduation on July 23, along with the virtual graduation planned for June 15.”
After consulting with student leadership, Hartzler said it was evident that their biggest disappointment was not getting to walk across the stage to receive their diploma. “They also wanted to be together as a senior class and to celebrate on their own home turf – not in a venue that has no connection to Union.”
The safety of students, families, and staff remains the district’s highest priority. By limiting the ceremony to seniors, Union said they can safely conduct a ceremony limited to 1,073 seniors and maintain social distancing while complying with Oklahoma State Department of Education graduation and CDC guidelines. This in-person event for seniors will be livestreamed for parents and families. In the event the city, state, or CDC decides not to relax social distancing guidelines by July 23, there remains a chance that the event could be cancelled.
“I’m sure this will still be a disappointment to many parents and families eager to cheer their student on, but it does satisfy our primary goal, which is to fulfill seniors’ wish to walk across the stage and celebrate with their class.”
Plans for the Virtual Graduation Ceremony on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. continue. “It will contain all of the pomp and circumstance you would expect from a traditional graduation ceremony. With the addition of the seniors-only commencement, it truly gives families the best of both worlds.”