GREEN RIVER– Green River High School principal, Darren Howard, and Expedition Academy High School principal, Ralph Obray, gave updates on their 2020 commencement ideas amid the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic during the Sweetwater County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.
Gina Harvey, mother of a senior student, sent in a public comment asking for GRHS to postpone its traditional commencement ceremony to try to provide an in-person graduation, rather than a virtual one.
GRHS and Expedition Academy are both considering postponements, however, they are exploring other options in case the possibility of an in-person ceremony is not possible due to COVID-19.
Harvey pointed out that the Class of 2020 is missing out on a lot of irreplaceable experiences due to the virus. Howard acknowledged those concerns, saying his heart goes out to the senior students.
“These kids are missing out on some things we can’t replace,” Howard said.
The principals and school board all agreed that whatever they decide to do for commencement, it has to be special and unforgettable. However, whatever they decide must also adhere to proper social distancing.
Trustee Mark Sanders noted that the district should find a way to get the graduates their diplomas without resorting to mailing them, as it would help to make it special.
Green River High School
Howard said Green River High School is thinking of creating a virtual ceremony in which they can still have speakers dressed in caps and gown.
He said they could read the kids names and show three photos of each student: a photo of the kids as infants, their senior photos, and a photo of them dressed in their caps and gowns. He said they could also show a photo of each student’s diploma.
Another idea is to have a parade in which the students could be in a car with their parents and families and be escorted through town by the Green River Fire and Police Departments. The parade could end at GRHS and they could be handed their diplomas as they sit inside the car.
Postpone the Ceremony
Howard said they are also looking into postponing the ceremony to June or July, as a May commencement seems unlikely. However, he noted that the further into the summer they have to go, the more conflicting schedules will become an issue.
Chairman Steve Core said he believes the further they push the ceremony out, the less students are going to care about it. Core suggested doing both a virtual ceremony and a parade. He also pondered the idea of placing photos of the students along Uinta Drive, like they do with the athlete photos before game day.
Sanders asked the board members to think of ideas and send them to Howard, to which all the trustees agreed to.
Obray said Expedition Academy is looking at the same ideas as GRHS, however, with fewer students he said they are able to delay their decision longer than GRHS.
He did note that they thought about the possibility of having a live radio broadcast of the commencement.
Expedition Academy plans to put a survey out to the parents and students that will list their ideas and allow for their opinions on the matter. Howard said GRHS is doing the same thing, as well as listing out guidelines they must adhere to due to recommendations for COVID-19.
Green River High School graduation was previously scheduled for Monday, May 18, and the Expedition Academy commencement was scheduled for Tuesday, May 19.