Del Rio High School graduates can prepare their caps and gowns, as a graduation ceremony with some traditional aspects was presented to San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees.
Superintendent of Schools Carlos Rios and Del Rio High School Principal Jose Perez presented the alternative graduation ceremony to board members during a monthly meeting on Monday.
“Students have indicated they do want their regular graduation, as close as possible to what would’ve been a normal graduation,” Perez said.
“We’re confident we can have a very structured and, still, very enjoyable and memorable (graduation) for our students,” Rios said.
The alternative plan pushes back the ceremony from May 29 to June 4-6, and due to social distancing, will divide the ceremony into six separate ceremonies within the three-day time span. Two ceremonies will take place each day, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 8 p.m.
As part of tradition, the ceremonies will take place at the Walter Levermann Stadium and will take place in alphabetical order.
Approximately 100 graduates will participate in each ceremony and only two guests will be allowed per graduate. Graduates will be assigned a seat on the field during the ceremony.
According to Perez, one car is allowed per graduate, which will include the graduate and guests, and parking spaces will be assigned.
Leading up to a ceremony, guests and graduate must arrive a half hour before the ceremony and remain in the vehicle until school district security advises them to enter the stadium. Certain entrances and exits will be marked for the ceremony, and security will allow 20 guests at a time into the stadium.
According to Perez, a graduate’s seat number will match with their parking number and stadium seats. A labeled map of the parking lot, graduate seat and stadium seats will be emailed to the seniors.
Seniors must arrive, accordingly dressed, and ready to go for the ceremony. The processional line will begin from the student parking lot and students will walk onto the field through the stadium seats, as opposed to the traditional entrance from the side of the field.
Guests are not allowed to enter the field once the ceremony finishes. Rather graduates will be dismissed in single file, six feet apart, and guests will walk back to their cars immediately afterwards.
“Normally, after graduation some congregating is allowed, but this would not be possible after the ceremonies,” Perez said.
Perez added masks are encouraged, not required, during the ceremony, and all social distancing regulations will apply during the graduations.
Del Rio High School and Early College High School valedictorians, salutatorians and the top five will have the customary assignments, such as invocation, speeches and benediction.
The Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office offered its services to the school district for the ceremonies, according to Rios, and other entities have expressed support to help with security and supervision during the ceremonies.
Rios added each ceremony will be live streamed, and a video recording of each ceremony will be combined and later featured in the school district’s social media pages.
Due to the estimated time of each ceremony and current regulations, there will be no concession stand during the ceremonies.
In the meantime, the school district set up a photo station for the graduates at the Student Performance Center and Administration Building on 319 Griner St., according to Rios.