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Congratulations, COVID-19 Class Of 2020 Grads

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Sonora, CA – COVID-19 Class of 2020 grads are being honored in a number of creative ways in the absence of being able to assemble for live, in-person events.

Clarke Broadcasting reached out to county schools’ superintendents for details. Last night Gold Rush Charter School held the first virtual commencement ceremonies for their 37 8th and 57 12th grade graduates, which was streamed live on Zoom, led by Principal Ronald Hamilton and Associate Director Shay Saunders.

Tuolumne County School Superintendent Cathy Parker reports that her office’s Transition program, which supports adults 18 to 22 years of age, is having a virtual graduation today. Tuolumne Learning Center students will be honored with a gift basket delivery and staff car parade past their homes. Adult Ed grads will be recognized at the June 25 board meeting.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. Twain Harte School will celebrate its 8th-grade graduation by delivering diplomas and awards directly to each graduate’s home via a staff vehicle parade.

Calaveras County School Superintendent Scott Nanik shares that all of the county’s districts are doing drive-thru graduations and promotions that were pre-approved by County Public Health officials.

The one for Bret Harte High, John Vierra, and Vallecito High is tonight at 6 p.m. The ones for Calaveras High, Sierra Hills, and Goldstrike High are June 5 and 6 respectively at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Mountain Oaks School will hold its ceremony June 5 at a time still to be announced.

This past Tuesday, Curtis Creek staff placed yard signs and banners outside of the school honoring its 8th-grade graduates, who are also receiving “Grad Bags” gifts and links to a graduation video.

More Virtual, Drive-Through June Ceremonies

Summerville Elementary, working with a local videographer, plans to honor its 8th-grade graduates online through what officials are describing as a “unique and special video graduation” featuring each student that is now in production. School officials will stream it during a live, online event on June 4 at 6 p.m. on the school’s Facebook page and website. DVD copies will be mailed home the following week.

Sonora High Principal Lance Morrow says the school is putting together a video ceremony that will post on YouTube on June 4 at 7 p.m. “One thing that I am adamant about is just as soon as we are able when whatever restrictions in place now are lifted that we will be scheduling a live graduation ceremony for the students who are able to attend it at that point,” he adds.

Noting how students this year had to rise to the challenges not only academically but emotionally, he shares, “I think we are learning and growing…the students are very resilient…have pushed through these trying times and are going to be stronger for it when we do come out of this.”

Big Oak Flat Groveland Unified School District is holding a drive-through graduation ceremony for all its campuses. The Tenaya Elementary 8th Grade Promotion will be June 2, Tioga High Graduation June 3, and Don Pedro High June 5. All will begin at 6 p.m. Additionally, Tenaya Elementary Kindergarten Graduation is scheduled for June 4 at 10 a.m.

Each student/family will be assigned a time to pull into the parking lot with a limit of one vehicle per graduate-family. Teachers and board members will be in their own vehicles to honk and cheer as students arrive. There will be no physical contact as all students and families will remain in their vehicles. Diplomas will be handed out using a “contactless” method at Kinder and 8th and pictures will be taken from a distance. The event, which will be recorded, will be subsequently shared on social media.

Jamestown Elementary plans to post on June 3 by 5 p.m. its video promotion ceremony on YouTube. The time and date reflect the school’s originally scheduled live event. The presentation will include student speeches, awards, and presentations.

Also on June 3, Soulsbyville School will from 6 to 7:30 p.m. offer drive-through graduation with homeroom classes scheduled for specific time slots. School officials will be setting parameters to achieve social distancing guidelines with limited staff on site. In the morning, the school will be sending out a virtual ceremony using Flipgrid in which grads will hear messages from teachers and staff, hear their names announced, and receive awards for their academic accomplishments obtained throughout the year.

On June 5, Summerville Union High School District will make a video recorded virtual ceremony available to all graduating seniors by invitation and then post it to Facebook. The district also plans in-person graduation ceremonies: Aug. 5 for Alternative Ed., Aug. 7 for Summerville High; Aug. 6 is slated BBQ for Connections 8th-grade promotion.