Graduation ceremonies for high school seniors will be vastly different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing social distancing efforts. The graduating class of 2020 of Lehi High School and Skyridge High School will experience a different sort of pomp amid the circumstance.
This week, Lehi High School graduating seniors have the option of participating in a virtual live walk. From Tuesday, May 12 to Thursday, May 14, over 450 students will be participating in the graduation ceremony and have been spaced throughout each day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A live feed is available on the school website showing the graduate walking on the stage to receive their diploma and posing for photos in front of the school logo.
Only seniors and their parents are allowed to enter the building. School administrators guide the graduate to the auditorium, where their name is read aloud while they walk across the stage to receive their diploma and shake Principal Doug Webb’s hand. A professional photographer takes a photo of the graduate in front of the school logo, then parents are welcomed to take a photo of their graduate before moving out of the building.
Graduates chose a time slot online, with each student spaced at least two minutes between to allow for social distancing. Teachers and staff guide parents and students throughout the process, from parking to picking up their 2020 graduate t-shirt.
“It feels a little bit like working at Disneyland,” said Coach Sean Yeager, as he directed parking and said hello to students and their parents. “It’s definitely bittersweet to get to say hello and goodbye to students from a distance. But it’s also an experience that’s one of a kind, that’s for sure.”
Graduate Ethan Kirkham said, “It was weird, but it was really fast, and I actually liked how fast it was.”
Jarris Kirkham, Ethan’s mother, said, “It was a little anticlimactic. I didn’t realize he was receiving his diploma and didn’t have my camera ready. But then I got to say ‘wait, go back, start over’ and I got to do that because he was the only one there. I’m disappointed they don’t get to have the big pomp and circumstance that everyone else has. But they also get to have something that no one else has and that’s pretty great.”
Graduating senior Spencer Brittain said “With everything that’s going on in the world, this has been good closure for me. I liked coming back to the school, and under the circumstances, this has been really good.”,
Suzanne Brittain, Spencer’s mother, said “It was awesome they had them come back to the school. It was disappointing that everything was canceled, but to have them come back to the school to graduate was a good benefit.”
The virtual portion of the graduation will be streamed on Thursday, May 28 at 8 p.m. This event will be pre-recorded and uploaded online with components of a traditional graduation ceremony, including speakers and musical numbers.
Similarly, Skyridge High School graduates will have the option of participating in their live portion of the graduation ceremony on May 26 through 28, with their pre-recorded show the evening of May 28.
Fireworks will follow virtual ceremonies on May 28 from each high school within the Alpine School District. School grounds will be closed, and students are encouraged to watch the fireworks from their homes or another location.