Salem High Principal Scott Habeeb wants the community to know that there will be a graduation ceremony to honor the Class of 2020. In fact, two celebrations are likely to take place. While a traditional in-person graduation ceremony would be ideal, Habeeb knows that likelihood is slim under the current circumstances.
A virtual ceremony, scheduled for June 12, will be modeled after previous in-person graduations. Some aspects of it will be live. Other aspects, such as student speeches, will be recorded ahead of time.
When asked what the ceremony will look like, Habeeb said, “The answer will evolve, but here is the general framework. The ceremony will be held via Zoom. We have access to Zoom’s Webinar feature which will enable 1,000 unique logins to view the ceremony.”
An individualized event will occur the next day, on Saturday, June 13. While details are still being finalized, the individual graduation ceremony is expected to happen at the Salem Civic Center Annex.
“The Annex has large garage doors on both sides that will allow for cars to enter from one side and exit out the other. Once inside the Annex, the student will exit the car, walk across a stage and receive his or her diploma,” Habeeb said. “Family and friends can take pictures from within the car, while our photographer also chronicles the event on stage.”
Like many Salem residents, June 12 and 13 are dates Jim Anderson has circled on his calendar. “I have three cousins graduating this year and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Life gave them a bad hand of cards and they made the most of it,” he said.
In an email to parents, Habeeb included additional details, which he stated as:
“Is it realistic that by June 12 we will be allowed to have gatherings of 3,000 which is the normal size of our ceremonies? Is it realistic to think we will be allowed to have gatherings of 286 – the size of the Class of 2020? The answer is we just don’t know what the situation will be by June 12. Therefore, we are assuming we will not be allowed to have a traditional in-person ceremony.”
Many students have expressed disappointment at how their senior year ended. “Albeit not what I expected, I will forever remember the good memories I made at Salem High. I feel like me, and my fellow graduates learned one of life’s biggest lessons – not to take a single thing for granted and be thankful for what we have,” Libby Bowman said.
Additional end-of-the-year senior events will include a pre-recorded Senior Awards Ceremony, a Career Signing Day, a Counseling Office Window Display and a Community Scholarship Night. Visit www.shs.k12.va.us for more information.