Graduation Update 6.16.20

Graduation Update 6.16.20
Posted on 06/16/2020
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Dear Graduates and Families of the Class of 2020, 

Over the past few days, I have heard from many students and parents expressing opinions about either holding our originally planned concept of a video tribute and parade graduation or the new possibility of hosting smaller, in-person events that meet newly announced New York State (NYS) guidelines allowing in-person graduations with up to 150 people. Some are in favor of the original plan, while others want smaller, in-person events. Some families are displeased with both options. This has made it very difficult. 

We fully understand everyone’s disappointment in the fact that we are still not able to have a less-restrictive ceremony. However, the Governor’s current Executive Order does not allow such plans. Our original survey, administered in early May, delivered the clear message that students did not want to postpone their graduation in hopes of NYS lifting the restrictions. Unfortunately, the Governor’s announcement last week amending the gathering limit to 150 still does not allow the attendance levels necessary for our senior class. 

Based on the feedback received, including the results of our most recent survey, we have made the decision to proceed with our original Rondout Valley High School graduation plan, which includes a Districtwide Caravan Car Parade and Diploma Procession, along with a professionally produced Senior Tribute video that will be launched via YouTube Premiere and will allow students and families to experience the production together in a livestream-type environment. 

This original plan was created with student input, and members of the Student Congress have played an important role in its vision and execution. They have worked alongside District administrators and staff to create a meaningful and memorable experience for their classmates, and I am proud of the hard work they have put into this. 

As a reminder, the caravan will be held on June 26 at 4:15 PM and will begin at SUNY Ulster. The caravan will journey along a 32-mile route through the community. Graduates’ names will be broadcasted on the radio so everyone can tune in to The Wolf 97.7/97.3 FM. Graduates are encouraged to wear their cap and gown and decorate their vehicles, as well as sit in the passenger seat to enjoy the parade and to receive their diplomas. The community is encouraged to show support by selecting a location along our caravan route and celebrating our graduates with cheering and decorations. Additional caravan details will be forthcoming. 

The graduates and their families can enjoy student speeches, musical performances, farewell messages, and more by viewing the Senior Tribute Video; it will be streamed on YouTube Premiere on Friday, June 26 prior to the Caravan procession. We understand that no plan will be perfect for everyone. This is not the graduation experience any of us wished for the Class of 2020, but we are committed to providing a memorable celebration for our seniors that will reflect the joy and pride that we have in each and every one of them. We believe this option is the best one to do so. 

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! 


Jessica Torok 

Principal, Rondout Valley High School

To view a signed pdf of this letter, use this link.