Summit Charter High School principal Martin Medina was able to make an announcement on Thursday morning he's been waiting more than a year to make.
“I was excited to make the announcement this morning over the intercom that we would have an in-person graduation,” Medina said.
The announcement set off a celebration at the school as Summit's Class of 2021 will be able to participate in an in-person graduation ceremony to be held at the campus at 6:30 p.m. June 3. For the first time ever at Summit the graduation will be held outside at the school site.
Since the graduation is being held outside it's allowing Summit to hold an in-person ceremony. Medina said each of the school's 88 graduates will be able to invite five guests.
With graduates, their families and staff about 550 people will be attending the ceremony. “It allows us to do that,” said Medina about being able to have that many people at an outdoor ceremony.
COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the ceremony. Everyone attending the ceremony will have their temperatures checked and everyone at the ceremony must wear a mask. Families will be able to sit together and there will be three seats between each family.
As far as the seating arrangement, Medina said, “We want them to be as close to the graduates as possible, but obviously safe.”
Right after making the announcement at the school, Medina sent out a message to the seniors' families. The reaction of the families, Medina said, was obviously grateful since students hadn't been allowed on campus and had been participating in solely distance learning for more than a year. It's been less than a month since Summit's students have returned to on-campus learning on a limited basis as the school re-opened on March 30.
And of course about the reaction of the seniors when Medina made the announcement, he said, “We had a response of happiness from the seniors.”
Since he was in his office when he made the announcement Medina said he couldn't see the reaction of the students. But he added teachers were sending him messages, stating there was a lot of “jumping, cheering.”
“It was just a lot of cheering,” Medina said. “Hopefully there was no hugging.”
And Medina did receive the chance to greet many seniors after making the announcement when he went out on campus. “I became the hero of the day,” Medina said.
Medina said seniors kept coming up to him to ask him questions about the ceremony.
Last year Summit did everything it could to provide the Class of 2020 with as traditional of a graduation as possible with having the in-person ceremony. The school had yard signs for each graduate to walk by on campus. As the seniors entered the gym, they walked the traditional graduation walk. Medina also read a short paragraph for each senior recalling their favorite memories and covering their future plans. A final virtual graduation video was compiled.
While Medina said it was obviously unfortunate an in-person ceremony couldn't be held for the class of 2020, he's also obviously glad an in-person ceremony can be held for the class of 2021.