Graduation Update

Graduation Update
Posted on 05/14/2020
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Dear Graduates and Families of the Class of 2020, 

Determining the appropriate ways to honor our graduating Class of 2020 has been one of the top priorities for our school district over the past several weeks. We appreciate all your input and ideas, helping us develop the best way to celebrate this momentous occasion. 

After surveying 137 seniors and their families and many discussions with our graduation committee, which included seniors, parents of seniors, faculty and administration, we have come up with a two-part graduation celebration that will take place on June 26 as originally scheduled. 

We understand some of you suggested that we postpone our graduation ceremony to July or August. However, with the uncertainty of the restrictions on social gatherings and many scheduled functions being canceled throughout the summer, we did not want to risk trying to have a later ceremony that may not happen. If we wait and still cannot gather in large crowds, we are afraid that we may lose the opportunity to properly acknowledge and honor all our graduates. Our seniors expressed that some of their classmates may be off to college, the military or other post-secondary plans and may not have the opportunity to attend a later ceremony. Furthermore, having the graduation on the original date and time brings a sense of normalcy and closure. 

Many graduating seniors also felt strongly about keeping the ceremony within our district. The drive-in theatre alternative would require our graduates and their families to travel more than 45-minutes, which could be a hardship for some. 

Lastly, our graduates expressed reservations about not being able to comply with social distancing guidelines if we held a traditional in-person ceremony. Our utmost priority is to protect the safety of our students, families and loved ones. Therefore, we are excited to announce that our best options to celebrate and honor the Class of 2020 are the following: 

Part I: Senior Tribute 

The district is collaborating with Captivate Media and Ulster BOCES to produce a high-quality professional video tribute to our graduates. The idea of the video tribute is not to replicate a traditional ceremony in its entirety, but to capture highlights and adapt them to an engaging online celebration through submission of photos, and video messages from graduates and faculty that will be compiled in a video and streamed on June 26. Time slots will also be available for seniors and faculty to come on campus for recordings. More information and details will be forthcoming. We ask each graduate to engage in the planning of the senior tribute as it will create a memory for your entire graduating class. 

Elements that will be featured include: 

• Flashback segment of K-12 experiences at Rondout 

• Musical performances including students performing our Alma Mater 

• Valedictorian & Salutatorian Address 

• Top 10 Memories of the Class of 2020 

• Student and staff reflections 

• Senior montage 

• Video messages from graduates and faculty 

• Cap Decorating… 

• and more! 

Part II: Caravan and Drive-thru Diploma Procession for the Class of 2020 

A caravan procession will be led through the main roads of our district then proceed through our main campus where diplomas will be awarded. This event will occur on Friday, June 26. Graduates will be encouraged to wear their cap and gowns. Graduating seniors and their families will be provided with specific information about the event, which will entail decorating their family’s vehicle to participate in the caravan and a map of the commencement route. Our goal is to get our community to rally together and celebrate our graduates. This event will be led by our SRO’s as well as our local law enforcements and fire departments. 

This will prove to be one of the most exciting events that the district has conducted and we are looking forward to our community’s support! 

Go Ganders! 

Jessica Torok 

Principal, Rondout Valley High School 

Angelena Frumenti 

President, Class of 2020

To view a pdf version of this letter, please click here.