Richardson ISD to hold modified, in-person graduation ceremonies for seniors

District staff dropped off a yard sign to the Berkner High School valedictorian in late April. (Courtesy YouTube)
District staff dropped off a yard sign to the Berkner High School valedictorian in late April. (Courtesy YouTube)

District staff dropped off a yard sign to the Berkner High School valedictorian in late April. (Courtesy YouTube)

Richardson ISD will hold modified, in-person graduation ceremonies in June, according to a May 15 video message from Superintendent Jeannie Stone.

On June 5 and 6, graduating seniors can walk across the stage at one of two district stadiums to receive their diploma from a designated person, such as a family member. Seniors will also have the opportunity to take photos.

Only graduates and members of their immediate family members and households are allowed to attend, according to a newsletter from the district.

“These events will be planned meticulously and scheduled with appropriate social distancing and safety protocols in place, but there are also going to be a lot of other things planned to plus the experience and make it super special for our graduates and their families,” Stone said in the video.

RISD had previously announced it would hold a virtual graduation with a possible in-person event in July; however, it changed course after survey results found that a large number of parents and students preferred a more traditional ceremony.

Results from the survey showed that roughly 39% of students preferred an in-person ceremony with their classmates that families could watch via livestream. The majority of parents, roughly 41%, preferred an in-person graduation at a stadium. About 35% of students were also in favor of the traditional ceremony option.

“I know that this decision does not make everyone happy, I wish there was one answer that accommodated everyone’s feelings and needs,” Stone said in the video.

Lake Highlands and J.J. Pearce high schools will hold their ceremonies June 5 at the Wildcat-Ram Stadium and the Eagle-Mustang Stadium, respectively. Ceremonies for Berkner and Richardson high school seniors are scheduled for June 6 at the Wildcat-Ram Stadium and Eagle-Mustang Stadium, respectively.

RISD is also tentatively planning traditional, in-person ceremonies for Sunday, July 19 and Monday, July 20 if large gatherings are permitted by the state at that time, Stone said. These events would still require social distancing and therefore would be held outdoors, according to the district.

“The event will be livestreamed so those unable to attend in person can watch in real time,” Stone said in the video.

High schools will continue to share details with students and families about graduation events, according to the newsletter.
By Makenzie Plusnick
Makenzie graduated from Tarleton State University in 2019 with a degree in communications. While in school, she interned at the Weatherford Democrat and was editor of Texan News Service, a news outlet at Tarleton. She enjoys true crime podcasts, riding horses, and spending time with her dog.


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