Dear Seniors, Parents, and Family Members,
During his press conference on April 20, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine stated “the gathering of significant numbers of people is a dangerous situation. Just as schools have been innovative in regard to how to teach from a distance, I know that they will be innovative as they look at how…they honor the students…” As recently as April 23, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education provided the following guidance to all of Ohio’s schools regarding graduation, “We are asking the education community to come together and honor our students, especially our seniors, in a manner that doesn’t pose health risks to anyone. Schools should continue to recognize the importance of restrictions on mass gatherings, and events should be aligned with the Ohio Department of Health’s Order.”
The Ohio Department of Education listed multiple reasons why schools should continue to follow the Ohio Department of Health’s Order and not host in-person events. Some of the reasons are as follows:
With each change of venue and/or calendar delay (July or later graduation ceremony), there is no guarantee that large gatherings will be permitted, and there is a risk of fewer students actually participating due to other life plans such as beginning employment, attending college, military enlistment, etc.
In-person events add to the complexity of asking students to comply with social distancing, as these events often are highly emotional, invoking natural physical responses (such as high fives and hugs).
In-person events, even if only for participants, can lead to other people (family members, relatives, friends) wanting to physically attend, even though not permitted to do so.
Pressure is unintentionally put on other high schools (principals, superintendents and board members) that have chosen to conduct events virtually rather than in person.
The Ohio Department of Education’s current graduation guidelines for Ohio’s schools for The Class of 2020 states, “School leaders should conduct graduation ceremonies and other recognition events in a remote manner that honors each student in a safe and responsible way, prioritizing the health needs of students, their families and the community.”
As the administration of Napoleon Area City Schools continues to work with state and local authorities, as well as health officials to ensure the safety of our community, the graduation ceremony for The Class of 2020 will take place on Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 2pm in a Virtual Commencement. Although we were not expecting such a celebration for The Class of 2020 at the beginning of the school year, nor have I experienced anything like this before over the course of my twenty-five year career in education, Napoleon High School and our community can still honor The Class of 2020 by rejoicing in their accomplishments.
As a means to honor every senior, local government officials, area businesses, and community members have been working with school representatives to purchase and hang street light pole banners throughout the downtown area in the City of Napoleon. Every senior who provides a photo will have a banner. We will use your “Senior Spotlight” photo. The banners will hang on the street light poles until the fall of 2020. When the banners are removed, each graduate will receive his or her banner. Seniors will be provided a graduate yard sign. When the yard signs arrive, we will communicate the time, location, and process on how each senior may obtain one. In addition, the junior class has purchased all seniors a chromebook. Seniors may keep their school issued chromebooks. If you are a FCCC or CBI senior, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain one. Chromebooks will be available in late May or early June for FCCC & CBI students. All seniors should refer to the update posted on April 27, 2020 for directions associated with returning school materials (i.e. textbooks, library books, etc.).
We are currently working with Jostens and their Virtual Graduation Center to create the commencement. Jostens has partnered with Zoom to support the technology platform in order to share the ceremony. The ceremony will be pre-recorded. The graduation commencement will consist of five primary stages, which models the traditional graduation. Seniors, as well as their families, will experience music (pomp and circumstance, as well choir and band arrangements), commencement speeches, the presentation of diplomas, the turning of the tassels, and the cap toss.
During the course of the virtual commencement seniors are encouraged to take photos and video clips, especially during the presentation of diplomas, the turning of the tassels, and the cap toss. We will be adding these items to the original virtual commencement. Photos and videos should be sent to Ms. Kelly Cooper at email@example.com. The information is due by Sunday, May 31, 2020. A comprehensive video will be produced to include the footage, as well as your cap and gown photo taken on the theater stage with your diploma. We will make the entire final graduation ceremony and those additional photos and videos available in June to all seniors.
Seniors will receive an electronic invite to the virtual commencement. The graduation will be shared on FaceBook live, so no matter where your family members reside they can experience the program. Seniors should complete the “Senior Spotlight”. If you have not completed it by now, please do so as soon as possible. If you need assistance, please contact Ms. Kelly Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. The “Senior Spotlight” will be used during the virtual commencement, as well as for the street light pole banners. Seniors class officers should continue to work with their class advisor Ms. Tracy Weber, as The Class of 2020 will have some options or choices involving the graduation’s honorary guest speaker.
As a means to prepare for the virtual commencement, during the week of May 18-22, 2020 all seniors will sign up for a time when he or she can report to school for a graduation photo wearing his or her gap and gown. An electronic invitation will be sent to all seniors, so they can sign up for a time and date. Seniors should check their emails regularly, as well as social media. Please sign up for an available time slot. During the individual photo session, the senior will park in the west student parking lot. Only, the senior will enter the junior high gym by using the side entrance. The door will be identified with the appropriate signage. The senior will proceed to the theater stage. He or she will be provided his or her diploma. A photo will be taken of the senior. During this process, the staff and the individual senior will use appropriate self-distances practices. We encourage the use of masks, handkerchiefs, or some other type of cotton/cloth material to cover one’s nose and mouth. The use of gloves would be wise. When the individual senior has his or her photo taken, he or she may remove the mask and/or gloves for the photo. You will take your diploma with you on this date. If you are a senior who will receive a medal/medallion or graduation/honor cord, you will receive the item(s) on this date.
As it pertains to school fees, please refer to the following link located on the building’s webpage on how to use Pay Schools: http://www.napoleonareaschools.org/1/News/213#sthash.2yEzLetQ.dpbs. Seniors should take care of all fees prior to the cap and gown photo session. The current date to pay all fees is Friday, May 15, 2020.
Napoleon High School graduation commencement is a well-deserved and time honored tradition. We recognize and value our ceremony. I have had the opportunity to participate in many of them over the last several decades, as a teacher and as an administrator. While I have been principal, I have made the same statement near the end of the ceremony which is, “It truly takes a village to raise a child. I thank you for allowing us the opportunity to participate in raising your children. As they exit together one last time, I hope we have fulfilled your expectations by assisting you in making them fine young men and women”.
To Our Seniors (The Class of 2020),
I dearly look forward to Sunday, May 24, 2020 when we all may refer to each of you as “Alumni” of Napoleon High School.
Please continue to check your email on a regular basis, as well as social media sources from the school.
Wishing your family the very best. Stay healthy and stay safe.
Mr. Ryan J. Wilde, Principal