Local school districts plan to host graduation ceremonies

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore.— Students have been out of school for nearly two months, and up until this point, seniors weren’t sure if they would have a graduation ceremony.

But now that Oregon is slowly loosening restrictions on residents, Medford School District and Eagle Point School district have started planning a graduation ceremony.

“It’s going to be as close as we can to recognition as we would normally do at a graduation ceremony,” Eagle Point School District Superintendent, Andy Kovach, said.

Medford and Eagle Point both put a survey out to its students asking them what they would like to see happen for graduation.

Medford students said they wanted a multitude of things:

  1. To be together with friends to any extent possible.
  2. To have closure now, rather than wait for a full ceremony.
  3. To be able to come together at a later date when all restrictions are lifted.

From there, Medford School District went to work.

“We put together a full prong plan for the class of 2020 that we hope honors some of our seniors wishes,” Natalie Hurd, Medford School District, said.

The annual Medford School District Graduation Walk will now be a graduation drive.

“We’re going to socially distance students on busses, there will be 10 kids per school bus and they’ll drive around to schools,” Hurd said. “Teachers will be lined up around the sidewalk with signs.”

Superintendent Kovach says the district is also working on a parade for its students.

For the actual graduation ceremony, they will be allowing students in small groups to accept their diplomas and walk across a stage.

“We are going to have 7 kids, they can walk together, they can each bring two adults of their choice, walk with the teacher, hear the teacher read their name, give them their diploma, turn their tassel and toss their caps,” Hurd said.

Although it’s not the graduation that any senior imagined, both Hurd and Kovach say they’re trying to give students the best they can.

“I think that in the end our students are going to be satisfied and know that we did our best for them,” Kovach said.

Medford Graduation Drive:

  • May 29th for North and South Medford High Schools

Diploma Walk:

  • May 30th for North and South Medford High Schools
  • June 4th for Central High School
  • June 6th Eagle Point High School

More details will be released later by both districts.

Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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