Graduates prep for the parade

Lake Highlands High School has announced changes to their plans to celebrate graduation for the Class of 2020. No, this isn’t the old new plan. This is the new new plan.

In a letter to parents Wednesday, Principal Kerri Jones said the school will not be holding a July 20 ceremony after all.

“I want to let you know that, based on updated guidance from Dallas County Health & Human Services (DCHHS) and Governor Abbott’s recent executive order limiting the size of gatherings, RISD will not be holding any additional group graduation activities for the Class of 2020.”

After the coronavirus outbreak, RISD canceled their traditional graduation ceremony at Garland’s Culwell Center. They arranged for students and their families to attend a mini-graduation at Wildcat Stadium, with seniors arriving a few at a time and posing for photos in cap and gown.

At the time of the announcement, some parents and students expressed anger and disappointment about the planned event. They proposed an all-class, in-person event such as those hosted by Mesquite ISD at Globe Life Field, Frisco ISD at Toyota Stadium and HEB ISD at Texas Motor Speedway. RISD compromised by scheduling an all-class, in-person graduation July 20 at Wildcat Stadium.

In recent days, parents have taken to social media to say the June graduation, combined with a parent-hosted parade earlier that month, were plenty.

“Alex isn’t interested in the July 20th graduation event, so we won’t go,” wrote Lory Martin of her grad. “He already walked across the stage and got his diploma, plus had a lovely celebration there and at the parade. I appreciate all the hard work the district and volunteers did for the events that have already taken place.”

“Emily is done and moving on,” agreed Tammy Churchill. “LHHS did a fabulous job with the June 5th graduation and, actually, it was really nice not to have to sit through a very long graduation ceremony. The community parade was awesome, and Emily felt very celebrated at that event. So she has definitely moved on from [high school] and is excited about starting her college life.”

Others were hoping RISD would keep the event on the schedule.

“We are planning to attend the July ceremony, hot or not,” wrote Tanya Bowen. “My fear is that when students were given a choice to attend the family only or the more traditional ceremony, they may have opted out of the June ceremony in favor of the July. I’d hate to have that taken away from them.”

Jones said LHHS will allow graduates who missed the June event to schedule a chance to cross the stage in cap and gown attended by members of their immediate household. The new school year is set to begin Aug. 19.

Boys arrive at the graduation parade