COVID-19 Impacts DeSoto ISD Class of 2020 Graduation Celebrations
DESOTO – DeSoto, Texas – DeSoto Independent School District and DeSoto High School announce graduation proceedings for the DeSoto High School Class of 2020 will take place May 27 and 28.
In lieu of DeSoto High School’s traditional evening graduation at Eagle Stadium, seniors will mark this educational milestone through a hybrid graduation ceremony that will be held over a two-day period in addition to other smaller senior celebrations scheduled with the community and district.
“Graduation is a special moment for students, the families, and our staff. It means so much to us to see our students walk across the stage. During a graduation, you get an opportunity to reflect and think about all the memories with your class. That is what makes graduations so special,” said DeSoto High School Principal Shon Joseph.
Working in alignment with health and safety guidelines related to Covid-19 which discouraged large gatherings in a closed or outdoor challenged district and high school leaders to think creatively to balance those guidelines without eliminating the personal experience of a graduation.
“A parent has nurtured and prayed for their child through school and, for two hours, they get to see it all of that work and commitment come to fruition. It is a moment only rivaled by a wedding, or the birth of a child. It’s one of the proudest moments a parent can experience,” said Joseph. “When we put graduation plans together, we are focused on that moment and ask ourselves, ‘How do we give that moment back in the state we are in?’ The answer was ‘We try and do everything we can to honor the moment’.”
Celebrating Class of 2020 With Safety In Mind
With that in mind, DeSoto High School will honor the Class of 2020 in a series of events designed to provide safeguards for the health and safety of our grads, their families and our communities but that also provides that in-person experience that every family dreams about as they envision this important senior milestone.
The graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 will be held over a two-day period on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 and Thursday, May 28, 2020.
- May 27: 10 a.m. to Noon – Virtual Graduation (Live Streamed)
- May 27: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Mini Ceremonies (Pre-Selected Groups)
- May 28: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mini Ceremonies (Scheduled by Alpha order for all students)
This event will be live-streamed at www.DeSotoISD.org/Graduation from the DeSoto High School Multi-Purpose Center (MPC). The event will include speeches from the Class of 2020 Valedictorian, Salutatorian, Class President and Class Secretary and a virtual presentation of all graduates.
DeSoto High School Class of 2020 mini-ceremonies are an opportunity for graduates and no more than five guests gather to watch their graduate cross the stage in person. The ceremonies will be organized by alpha and held in the Multi-Purpose Center.
Attendees will have the opportunity to hear their graduate’s name announced. The presentation of the diploma will be made by a guest or family members of the graduate. Following which, students will be allotted time to take photos on the graduation stage as DHS-commissioned professional photographers and videographers will be onsite to capture professional grad photos and footage of the activities. Once grads exit the stage, diploma packets will be issued following graduate photos.
While the May 27, 2020 mini-ceremonies are for pre-identified groups of students, the May 28, 2020 events will flow as follows for graduates and their families:
- A-F (9:00 – 9:45)
- G-L (10:00 – 10:45)
- M-O (11:00 – 11:45)
- P-S (12:00 – 12:45)
- T-Z (1:00 – 1:45)
In order to maintain a safe environment for all, school support security and district staff will direct families to the MPC staging area and guide them through the process of engaging in the mini-ceremonies. DeSoto ISD asks all graduates and guests to adhere to the following:
- Follow traffic flow
- Adhere to guidance from security personnel
- Wear Masks
- Maintain social distancing
- If ill or symptomatic, STAY HOME
- Exit expeditiously
DHS Class Of 2020 Is Tenacious
In order to memorialize this event, and in addition to the video livestream, DeSoto High School will provide onsite photography and videography services to create a full compilation simulating a traditional graduation event for a later release and a highlight recap video of the event for release on social media. Photographs will be released to the Class of 2020 graduates and their families at no charge.
DHS Class of 2020 President Ebony Moss is appreciative of the district’s efforts to capture these special moments.
“In addition to ensuring that we receive the best remote learning experience, it is humbling to witness the efforts of the DeSoto ISD and DeSoto High School administrators, faculty and staff as they prepare to create memorable moments for the Class of 2020. Our senior celebrations, milestone events, and graduation represent the culmination of our efforts over the course of our K through 12 education, and we applaud their efforts to honor and celebrate our accomplishments along with our family and friends,” said Moss. “We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in these unconventional and amazingly planned activities as they make every effort to keep us safe during this unprecedented time.”
DHS Twelfth Grade Principal Dr. James McBride recalled the tenacity of the students.
“The Class of 2020 reminds me of the Greatest Generation, because they have experienced so much of their youth embracing social change from past civil discord, rapid technological innovation, and widespread sacrificing for the greater good; therefore, they deserve a memorable outgoing celebration,” said McBride. “The importance of having a culminating celebration for the Class 2020 can be summarized in four axioms: accomplishment, family, friends and the future.