HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - High school graduation is a huge milestone achievement for students and families and staff. However, due to COVID-19, physical graduations have been postponed.
In honor of graduating seniors, local school districts have organized various celebration activities and other forms of graduation ceremonies.
School districts across Hampton Roads have announced their forms of celebrations to give seniors light during the pandemic. You can find plans for each school district below:
NNPS will have a modified graduation ceremony for each high school at Todd Stadium the week of June 15.
Seniors will receive an email and postcard with their individual time slot for arrival to ensure social distancing and gathering protocols.
Students and families must arrive in the same vehicle and only four people, student included, will be allowed to enter the stadium.
The graduate will then proceed to the graduate processional line, maintaining a six-foot distance.
Family members will be directed to proceed to the guest area in front of the stage. The graduate’s name will be announced over the public address system, and the graduate will proceed across the stage and pick up his/her diploma jacket from a table at the end of the stage.
The school principal and assistant principals will greet the graduate from the upper level of the stage to ensure safe distancing. When the graduate leaves the stage, the family will join him/her, and they will return to their vehicle together and follow the vehicle processional out of the stadium area.
The commencement ceremonies will feature recorded greetings from the Superintendent, members of the School Board, the School Principal and the Senior Class President, followed by the recorded Valedictorian and Salutatorian addresses.
Family members can view the ceremony on NNPS-TV, nnpstv.com, YouTube, ROKU and Apple TV.
NPS announced Wednesday it is planning a variety of celebratory activities for the Class of 2020’s graduation in June. These activities include virtual graduations of each of Norfolk’s five high schools, which will be held on the same date and time as originally scheduled (June 8 and 9).
The ceremonies will feature pre-recorded speeches, music and a slideshow of each senior’s picture, name and additional graduation information. This virtual graduation will be livestreamed and shown on the NPS YouTube channel and TV Channel 47.
Additionally, a "Mementos and Memories" event will be held at each high school on June 11 and 12, where graduates and their families can schedule an appointment to pick up diplomas and graduation programs and pose for professional photos in their caps and gowns. This event will be organized in alignment with current health guidelines.
A video salute to seniors will be a video montage of graduate photos taken in their caps and gowns at landmarks and places around the City of Norfolk. This is scheduled for later in June, and a compilation video will be posted on the NPS YouTube channel and on TV Channel 47 beginning the week of June 22.
Finally, on August 3-4, an in-person graduation ceremony will be hosted at the Chartway Arena if permitted under the directives of government officials, advised by medical experts, and supported by state health guidelines. There will be limited seating with social distancing practices in place.
In-person graduation ceremonies for Chesapeake Public Schools students will now take place in August. The school district has reserved the Chartway Arena for the week of August 10 through August 14, if conditions allow.
In the event that an in-person ceremony cannot be held due to guidance from government officials and medical experts, a virtual ceremony will be held in its place, including pre-recorded traditional commencement components.
In honor of graduating seniors, CPS says they have created many senior celebrations during June.
From June 1-5, an in-person senior celebration will be provided at each high school for the senior and limited guests following safety guidelines. Seniors will receive diplomas, have photo opportunities and pick up yearbooks or other gifts.
From June 10-12, each high school will light up their stadium lights for 20 minutes at 8:20 p.m. in honor of the graduates on their original graduation ceremony dates.
On June 13, CPS says to tune in to YouTube at 7 p.m. for a district-wide celebration highlighting the Class of 2020.
Graduates who would like a photo in their cap and gown in front of the Hampton Coliseum need to sign up for a specific day and time. Hampton City Schools will be purchasing two 5x7s for each graduate. Graduates will have the opportunity to purchase additional photos online at a later date.
Graduates will sign up for a time slot (time slots will be in 15-minute increments) for drive through, curbside cap and gown pickup.
Hampton graduates will get live virtual graduation ceremonies. Speakers will include the valedictorian, salutatorian, senior class president, executive principal, superintendent and the school board chair.
Graduates’ names will be called to coincide with a photo of the graduate. (This will consist of a head shot in their cap and gown that students submit by May 22. If students do not submit a photo in their cap and gown, senior photos will be used if the senior took the photo through LifeTouch.) A form will be made available on the graduation website on May 18 to submit a photo.
Seniors are asked to also submit a video clip up to 15 seconds in their cap and gown. These video clips will be included at the end of the virtual graduation ceremony. A form will be made available on the graduation website on May 18 to submit a video.
Graduates can also sign up to participate in the decorated vehicle procession. This special event provides our graduating seniors their processional “walk” by means of their vehicles. Each senior will be permitted to have one vehicle in the procession.
Other special celebratory salutes to graduates include, each high school’s valedictorian and salutatorian will be honored on the Coliseum’s Digital Marquee, electronic billboards on Interstate 64 and 664 will display a congratulations message to the Class of 2020 and Hampton City Hall, Hampton Convention Center, and the Air and Space Museum will be lit up in high school colors June 11-14.
Official diploma, the 2020 commemorative 5x7 photos, and a flashdrive of the virtual graduation will be mailed to graduates by the end of June.
Graduation will take place as a drive-in cermony on June 10 through June 12 at the Bailey Field parking lot and the Bruton High School parking lot.
The drive-in commencement ceremony that will still maintain many traditional components of commencement ceremonies including, student speeches, medallion presentations, and a collective turning of tassels.
Families are encouraged to decorate the senior family cars with positive and inspirational messages and/or school spirit.
All ceremonies will be streamed live and recorded so that families can watch in their cars or at home.
At a designated time in the ceremony, senior family cars will be directed through the parking lot towards the stage. Seniors will receive their diploma, walk across the stage, and have the traditional photo opportunity.
Once all graduates have walked the stage and returned to their parking spaces, they will be invited to step out of their vehicles for the ceremonial turning of the tassels.
All other attendees must remain in their vehicles while on campus.
At the conclusion of each ceremony, all senior family cars will exit the parking lot in an orderly recessional.
York River Academy: 6 p.m. at Bailey Field Parking Lot
Bruton High School: 9 a.m. at Bruton High Parking Lot
York High School: 6 p.m. at Bailey Field Parking Lot
Grafton High School: 9 a.m. at Bailey Field Parking Lot
Tabb High School: 6 p.m. at Bailey Field Parking Lot
The school district announced on May 19 that it will be celebrating graduating seniors throughout the month of June in what they call "Month of the VBCPS Graduate."
Between June 17 and June 20, every high school will host an individual graduation ceremony for each student, allowing the graduate to hear their name called, walk across a stage in their cap and gown, receive their diploma and have their picture taken. Each school will work with seniors and their families regarding the specific time for their walk, a guest list of no more than 10 people, and the appropriate social distancing protocols that will have to be maintained. Commemorative programs will be created, and each student will be provided with copies for their family.
Other features of the school district's graduation celebrations include:
Light Up the Night
From June 9-13, VBCPS will "Light Up the Night" as each high school stadium illuminates their field lights at 8:20 p.m. for exactly 20 minutes and 20 seconds while "2020" is displayed on the scoreboard. Businesses and residents are encouraged to join in the "Light Up the Night" celebration by lighting up their buildings and homes.
There will be a special VBCPS Graduation 2020 website, where each school will post a virtual ceremony video tribute featuring a welcome from the principal and superintendent as well as student speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian.
Between June 17-20, high schools will host an individual graduation ceremony for each student, allowing the graduate to walk across a stage in their cap and gown, receive their diploma and have their picture taken.
School officials are working with community groups and businesses to display tributes to grads around the city and all VBCPS schools and centers will display special messages on their marquees. A Class of 2020 yard sign will be given to every graduate.
VB Grad Wall
The VB Grad Wall will once again allow families and friends to post inspirational messages for the Class of 2020 on the division website by using the hashtag #VBGrad2020 on social media.
WJCC Schools won’t let the pandemic stop the celebration of the Class of 2020! The school division is partnering with the community to create once-in-a-lifetime events for graduates and their families while also observing social distancing guidelines.
Each high school will showcase members of the Class of 2020 with photos and posts on the school website and social media.
Cap and Gown Photo Sessions
Every graduate will have the opportunity to have a photo taken in his or her cap and gown. Students and one guest may visit the school by appointment at each high school June 8-12 to take a picture by the school rock or with the mascot. Schools will send directions for scheduling an appointment and information for taking the photo while practicing safe distancing.
Duke of Gloucester Street Processional
Seniors will decorate their cars (maximum of 5 passengers) and drive through historic Colonial Williamsburg on Duke of Gloucester Street on Thursday, June 11.
• Lafayette High School - 9 a.m.
• Jamestown High School - 12 p.m.
• Warhill High School - 3 p.m.
Diploma Ceremony on Stage at Busch Gardens
The Class of 2020 has experienced its share of ups and downs this school year. It’s only fitting to celebrate their roller coaster senior year with a modified outdoor ceremony at the home of the roller coaster – Busch Gardens! Students will cross the stage in their cap and gowns, hear their names announced, and receive their diplomas.
Ceremony times are as follows:
• Lafayette High School - Friday, June 12, at 3 p.m.
• Jamestown High School - Saturday, June 13, at 9 a.m.
• Warhill High School - Saturday, June 13, at 3 p.m.
Cherishing the Memory
Each graduate will receive a free commemorative video, including student speeches and images from the outdoor graduation ceremony. In addition, graduates will receive two 5x7 photos taken by a professional photographer at the event.
This story will continue to be updated as more local school districts release their plans for graduation celebrations.