CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Schools Get Creative With Graduation Plans For Class Of 2021

Mar 16, 2021, 10:50 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Graduation for the Class of 2021 is still a couple of months away, but schools are already brainstorming ideas of how they’ll handle celebrations this year.

Last year, the pandemic forced schools to cancel traditional graduation ceremonies and the Class of 2020 had to get creative. Many schools held car parades and some even had celebrations on the ski lifts, while others held virtual celebrations.

“I will say there aren’t too many people who want to do a virtual graduation again. Those were nice and so much work went into them, but I don’t think anyone will shed tears if we don’t do that again,” said Lane Findlay, spokesperson for the Weber School District.

Going back to a pre-pandemic ceremony still isn’t possible, but this year, many high schools are trying to do something more traditional for graduation.

Jordan High School sent out a survey to parents and students. Should they do a car parade again? Or hold their graduation on the football field?

“It was 80% to 20%, so they overwhelmingly wanted a traditional ceremony,” said Wendy Dau, principal of Jordan High School. “The drive-through was a good compromise last year but it was clear that we wanted to go back to those traditional kinds of celebrations.”

There was no question — most students wanted a traditional ceremony, even if it meant holding two separate graduation nights.

“I feel like actually being able to sit there together and soak in, like, ‘Wow, we’re the graduating class of 2021,’ it’s more heartfelt, I feel like,” said Davion Washington, a graduating senior.

Jordan High will bring in extra bleachers for social distancing. Seniors can invite up to four guests each and students will choose which night to graduate, so they can walk across the stage on the same night as their friends.

“There’s been so many kids I’ve known since kindergarten and we just want to be together for one last time,” said Brooklyn Wagner, student body president.

“I think that’s the closest we’re going to get to normal this year,” said Michelle Dominguez, a graduating senior.

KSL checked with all the larger school districts in Utah. While many are still working on graduation plans, others are formulating ideas.

Like Jordan High, the Weber School District is planning to hold its ceremonies outside. So is the Nebo School District, which will have most of their graduations at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds. The Granite School District is planning a senior graduation night party. Students will have to take a COVID-19 test to attend.

A new building for Hillcrest High School is currently under construction and the old school will be completely torn down in June. That goes for the auditorium as well.

“This auditorium is unique. It’s one of the biggest in the state and it has some of the most famous productions,” said Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt.

Hillcrest High is recognized across the country for performing arts, but a graduation ceremony has never been held in the auditorium. This year will be the first and last time graduates walk the stage. Since large groups can’t gather, seniors and their families will have staggered graduation times. It will be a special send-off for the Class of 2021.

“They deserve it. They’re remarkable students. Their resilience has been amazing. What other class has been through something like this?” said Leavitt.

Many schools are still planning graduation events like car parades. But because circumstances are changing so rapidly with vaccines and the mask mandate, many are holding off a bit longer to finalize plans.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
2 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Jed Boal

Despite reaching 5,000 deaths, Utah’s COVID-19 numbers are down

The director of the World Health Organization said yesterday about COVID-19, “the end is in sight,” even if we are not there yet.
13 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
LAURA UNGAR AP Science Writer

Is COVID-19 winding down? Scientists say no

New booster shots have arrived and social distancing guidelines have eased but COVID-19 infections aren't going away anytime soon. Experts predict the scourge that's already lasted longer than the 1918 flu pandemic will linger far into the future as the virus continues to cause deaths and may well mutate or evolve into a new disease.
20 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

US clears updated COVID boosters targeting newest variants

U.S. clears updated COVID-19 boosters targeting the newest omicron strain; shots could begin within days.
28 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Jed Boal

Updated COVID-19 boosters likely available next month as ‘twindemic’ fears emerge

Concerns about a potential surge in COVID-19 and the flu at the same time this fall are emerging again. Each of the last two years, warnings about a so-called “twindemic” did not materialize, but this year could be different.
1 month ago
FILE: Davis School District....
Mike Anderson

Davis School District adds resources to handle COVID-19

The Davis School District is shifting their approach to COVID, putting more decisions in the hands of parents while getting more funds to help monitor the virus.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Schools Get Creative With Graduation Plans For Class Of 2021