(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In a year that's been anything but normal, high school graduation will be close to it.
“Let’s look at the things that we get to do this year that they didn’t get to do last year,” said Shannon Nolte, SJSD Director of Secondary Education.
The St. Joseph School District is moving forward with plans to hold an in-person graduation ceremony for the class of 2021. The district said all three high schools will hold outdoor ceremonies, but with limited attendance. Each graduate will be allowed to bring up to six guests.
Seniors at Central, Benton and Lafayette High Schools will graduate on May 23rd at 1 p.m.
Central's commencement will take place at Spratt stadium, Lafayette's at Krug park and Benton will hold graduation on its football field- weather permitting.
“We just thought, ya know maybe this is the opportunity for us to kind of have something more personal for each high school,” said Nolte.
Graduation was a tricky obstacle for SJSD last year by having to battle between celebrating their graduating seniors' academic achievements and keeping them safe as COVID cases started to grow. Students picked up their cap and gowns drive thru style and a virtual graduation was held until the summer when the district put on a socially distanced outdoor ceremony like they plan to do this year.
“We understand that these still aren’t what they used to be and have been in the past. We’re kind of slowly coming back to normal, but we like to emphasize what the students get to do this year,” said Nolte, “We didn’t even know if it was possible, so we’re excited about that.”
SJSD said all graduations are planned for the same time, 1 p.m., to not chance the weather.
Nolte said masks will be encouraged, not required.