Eanes ISD still planning for May 28 graduation ceremony with virtual options available for community

Eanes ISD has not canceled its previously scheduled graduation ceremony. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD has not canceled its previously scheduled graduation ceremony. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Eanes ISD has not canceled its previously scheduled graduation ceremony. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Members of the Eanes ISD community can still anticipate a May 28 graduation ceremony at Austin’s Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center.

Despite the district closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, the district has not canceled its previously planned graduation event, according to Superintendent Tom Leonard.

Leonard and the board of trustees met virtually April 14 for a board study session, featuring a presentation from Westlake High School principal Steve Ramsey.

According to Ramsey, the district has planned for a potential virtual graduation ceremony set to take place on the same date. This would most likely occur as a recorded event rather than a virtual livestream.

A recorded ceremony would allow seniors to capture their final moments as EISD students, Ramsey noted, adding that a number of technological issues could occur when using a livestream.

The recorded ceremony would be filmed by the district and uploaded to an online platform at a later date while live stream would occur in real time.

The district has also planned for a backup ceremony date for Aug. 7 at the Erwin Center in the event that a larger gathering could take place later in the summer.

“One thing we hear from kids is they do want a nice walk across the stage,” Ramsey said. “They want some sort of closure; they want finality.”

Following a question from board member Christie Bybee, an option to hold a physical ceremony along with a recording was discussed by trustees. The visibility of this may depend on whether seniors and families decide not to attend a physical ceremony.

Leonard noted that implementing a community survey may help the district in making this decision.

In an effort to provide the community with as many options as possible, EISD is also considering a graduation ceremony in the fall if necessary.

This ceremony would take place at the same time as the scheduled homecoming event; according to Ramsey, this felt like a natural time to bring seniors back to campus.

This event could include a senior sendoff, a tailgate, a gathering at Westlake high school and more.

Ramsey noted that considering these four different graduation options the district feels they are providing seniors with proper recognition. A number of school districts have already canceled ceremonies with no virtual options made available for students.

Modifications may also be made to the scheduled senior awards night, with the possibility of implementing a virtual event. The senior sendoff and singing day events may also take place using a remote platform.

Leonard emphasized that at this time the physical graduation ceremony has not been canceled.

“Don’t cross it off your calendar yet,” Leonard said, adding that at this time Ramsey and the district are solely working to cover all the bases.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


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