RHS seniors face modified graduation ceremony

Heather Bell


RADFORD – The news that the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Department of Health denied the school district’s request to have an in-person, group graduation ceremony had administrators recently modifying plans once again.

A senior parade and small group graduation ceremony will now be held for the graduating Class of 2020.

“Unfortunately, our request to the VDOE and VDH to have a traditional graduation ceremony this year has been denied,” said Superintendent Robert Graham in an announcement to the school community. “I anticipated this would be the case since we didn’t hear from them immediately when we sent in our last request seeking final approval. Please know that graduation is still scheduled for Friday, June 26, but it will not be held in the traditional format that we had hoped. Instead, graduation will be held in small gatherings at Bobcat Stadium, five students at a time, with only the senior and his/her parents being allowed on the football field.”

Several other events, from academic and athletics awards to baccalaureate, have also been taking place this week. The parade and graduations speeches are set for tomorrow, Thursday, June 25. Seniors participating in the Senior Parade need to meet in the parking lot of Cupp Stadium on Radford University’s campus at 6:30 p.m. to be lined up for the parade, which will begin at 7 p.m. and will end at the parking lot of Sal’s and El Charro’s.

“All graduation speeches will be played via local radio or streaming media while the seniors parade through downtown Radford,”explained Graham.

Only one car per senior will be allowed. On Thursday morning, seniors will be treated to a free breakfast sponsored by BT’s and 7-Eleven. The breakfast will be given by takeout and can be picked up from 9- 10:30 a.m. at BT’s.

On Friday, a modified graduation ceremony will take place, with groups of five seniors at a time. Graduates and parents were notified of their time to come to Bobcat stadium via a School Messenger announcement.

“The senior and parents will have access to a variety of stations, including walking across the stage to receive their diploma and having their picture taken with [RHS Principal Jeff] Smith,” Graham explained.

Additional stations include providing senior contact information to Radford High School administrators, a station to drop off any items (books, uniforms, etc.) that might belong to Radford City Schools, a station where seniors can pick up their yearbooks, graduation coin, graduation fan, senior t-shirt, athletic awards, and senior banner.

Academic award winners will receive their certificates in their diploma. Valedictorian, Salutatorian and King award winners will pick up their medals, Julep Cup and certificates from Smith on the graduation stage.

“We will also provide a station where the graduate and parents can take pictures in front of a Bobcat backdrop with their diploma – a good spot, also, for selfies,” said Graham.

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