Note: Edited to correct the location of Grad signs provided by Rotary Morgan Hill.
The recent extension of the Shelter in Place Order from Santa Clara County Public Health left many school districts in a quandary over what to do about high school graduation. Twelve years of schooling have led up to this special moment where students, families, faculty, and administration traditionally join together in celebration of this great achievement. With social distancing to consider, traditional gatherings are no longer possible. There has been an outpouring of support in the community with respect to how to properly celebrate our high school seniors. So many wonderful creative ideas have been suggested. Unfortunately, we have had to remove any events requiring non-essential travel from consideration. According to new guidance from County Public Health, which now clarifies previous “gray area” when it came to car parades, these types of gatherings are forbidden, even though people would stay confined to their vehicles.
Despite this disappointment, the high schools within Morgan Hill Unified School District will forge ahead with plans to address the ceremony portion of the graduation celebration. While the restrictions due to the Executive Order could relax by the June graduation dates, it is prudent for us to plan now based on what we know to be true today. Several components of the ceremony, including speeches, will be pre-recorded. A graduation video for each high school will be produced and streamed over the internet at the same time and date of the original graduation ceremony. This allows all the graduates to not only be gathered with their family for a watch party, but for all the graduates to be able to see all of their friends and classmates graduate. It may not be in real time, but considering the circumstances and constraints we have to factor, we are all truly doing the best we can and making the most out of a less than ideal situation.
The community will also be doing their part to acknowledge and celebrate our graduates in ways they have not in the past. The Live Oak High School Athletic Boosters and the Ann Sobrato-Murphy Band Association are selling lawn signs for the families to display and honor the graduates at home. The Morgan Hill Rotary will be posting senior photos along the downtown corridor (Monterey from Main Avenue to Dunne Avenue).The Community Center Marquee will display and scroll all the graduates names, which will also be listed in the Morgan Hill Life newspaper. There is also an “Adopt a Senior” Facebook page where community members can make seniors feel special by providing them words of encouragement, special treats and gifts. The Morgan Hill Life newspaper is also selling “Grad Ads” where space can be purchased to feature that special senior in your life.
We have heard and understand that many seniors are not satisfied with these plans, and feel robbed of walking across the stage in front of their teachers, Principals, friends and loved ones. While we wish we could provide the graduates with the ceremony we truly believe they deserve, administration and a committee have spent hours consulting with the County, Morgan Hill PD and brainstorming with each other over the best case scenario we know we can provide the Class of 2020 at this time. Please know that this has not been easy for us and that these plans have not been made lightly. We are incredibly proud of the Class of 2020 and your four years of hard work. Better times are certainly on the horizon for each and every one of you.
We appreciate your understanding.