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'Difficult decision' | HISD will hold virtual graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020

Graduation ceremonies for HISD's 11,000 seniors will begin on Sunday, June 14.

HOUSTON — There won't be any pomp and circumstance for the 11,000 members of the Class of 2020 in the Houston Independent School District.

Instead, they'll be honored with virtual graduation ceremonies beginning on Sunday, June 14. 

Virtual graduations will allow students and families to celebrate the milestone event of completing high school while protecting their health and safety, HISD said in a statement.

“The district has been working diligently to celebrate our graduates, while ensuring the health and safety of our HISD community during the current COVID-19 crisis,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “Deciding that all high school graduations for our 11,000 seniors will take place virtually has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever confronted as the district leader. However, I am so proud of the accomplishments of the historic Class of 2020 and the strength they have shown through this unique challenge.”

Each virtual ceremony will include recorded messages from the superintendent and other district officials, as well as audio of each student’s name as their personalized slide is displayed.

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Loved ones will have the opportunity to remotely view the ceremony on multiple platforms. The virtual celebrations may also be shared on Facebook and other social media.

Seniors will soon be contacted by their schools with instructions on how the information will be collected. Each graduate will also receive their own personalized content as a gift from the school to share on social media with family and friends.

While the graduations will take place virtually, seniors will have an additional opportunity to celebrate with their classmates during a citywide celebration on June 5, hosted by Mayor Sylvester Turner.  

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Details are still being finalized by city officials, but this celebration will take place outdoors at school campuses following strict safety measures. The ceremony will not be a commencement and no diplomas will be issued to students during the event, which is optional. Students will receive more detailed instructions from campuses on how to participate and may also monitor the city’s website for additional information as it becomes available at www.visithoustontexas.com/houston-2020-seniors/.

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