Creating a Graduation during COVID-19
A message to the Class of 2020 parents
Dear Senior Parents,
I want to take a moment to recap how our Class of 2020 celebrations came to be. The Graduation Committee, composed of administrators, faculty, staff, and parents have been planning your son’s special moment since September 2019. It evolved in response first with the unavailability of Memorial Auditorium and then with the closure of all schools across the country due to COVID-19.
When we learned that we could not host a traditional graduation ceremony, we investigated dozens of options to be sure the most important pieces of the graduation experience were preserved. We decided that we could recreate the graduation experience through multiple events that, when combined, will honor the graduation experience in the aggregate. Jesuit is committed to the personal recognition of each graduates’ accomplishment, time with family, celebrating with classmates, praying in gratitude, and marking the culmination of the high school years.
Many factors guided decisions including consultation with health and government authorities at the County and State level. The safety of our students, parents, and staff have always been on the forefront. Additionally, constant communication occurred with other school districts, and examples of alternate ceremonies from all across California were reviewed.
We also thought of the emotional well being of your son. We wanted to give them the opportunity to celebrate the culmination of their Jesuit experience while allowing them to look ahead with joy at the starting of their college journey.
Please know that our series of events for the Class of 2020 incorporated the elements most valuable to the graduate and their family:
- Acknowledgment that they are in their final month as a Senior at Jesuit. Lawn sign delivery
- The excitement, and sometimes embarrassment, of the moment they grab their cap and gown package and then have to “model” it for their parents to snap photos when they arrive home from school with it in their hand. Cap and Gown Pick-Up Parade
- The special privileges, silly antics, and time together during their final week of school. Senior Celebration Week.
- The passing of class colors and Senior Breakfast. Farewell Mass and Donut Drive-thru Morning
- One on one conversations on their time at Jesuit. Senior Exit Interviews
- The celebration of our religious core with the Bishop’s Mass and Jesuit Baccalaureate Mass. Sacramento Diocese Class of 2020 Mass and Baccalaureate Mass
- The award presentations and being surprised to hear their name called. Awards Convocation
- The special moment in time when you and your son hear his name called as he walks across the graduation stage to collect his diploma, turns to smile at his parents, and has his photo taken. Commencement Ceremonial Walk
- The fun and festive review of memories of their years at JHS and the reflective, inspiring, and often inside joke-filled address from their Valedictorian. Graduation Celebration at the Drive-in
- A time to sit with their family and special loved ones in a space with every other Senior to laugh, cry and stand up to loudly yell their final TRIPLE-J. Graduation Celebration at the Drive-in
- A final time to laugh, joke and goof around together before heading off to their Freshman year at college. Senior Send-off Party* planning is occurring but final approval for a gathering of more than 50 people is still pending with the County and Dept of Public Health.
All of us at Jesuit look forward to sharing all these events with you and your family. Although we cannot provide the traditional Jesuit Graduation experience this year, we have created unique ways to provide our graduates with an entirely new experience that created celebratory opportunities far beyond those that could be offered by a virtual graduation alone.
Michael Wood ’99