How Houston-area high schools are handling graduation ceremonies amid pandemic closures

Fort Bend ISD postpones graduation until July, district says
Fort Bend ISD postpones graduation until July, district says

HOUSTON – Parents and graduating seniors in the Houston-area are all anticipating how local districts will handle graduation ceremonies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prom was canceled for a lot of hopeful seniors, but some were able to participate in virtual proms for students to enjoy. But will graduation ceremonies be virtual as well?

Here’s what several districts are saying about its plans:

Houston Independent School District

Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan announced Wednesday that additional information about graduation seniors will be sent to parents about whether the district will have a virtual or in-person graduation ceremony later this summer. Lathan did not give details on dates for these ceremonies.

Pearland Independent School District

Pearland ISD said it is working diligently to ensure its seniors will have a deserving graduation ceremony. The district said it has asked NRG for a possible graduation ceremony on July 24.

Spring Independent School District

Spring ISD is planning to have two graduation ceremonies — a virtual one in June and an in-person ceremony at the end of July at Planet Ford Stadium.

Aldine Independent School District

Aldine ISD announced that its graduation ceremonies are rescheduled for late July. The district will have two graduation ceremonies for July 23 and 24 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. The district said it is looking into virtual ceremonies if health rules and regulations will not allow the event to take place in-person.

Here are the following dates and times of the ceremonies:

Thursday, July 23:

- Hall Center for Education -- 11 a.m.

- Eisenhower High School — 12:30 p.m.

- Victory Early College High School — 3:30 p.m.

- Davis High School — 6 p.m.

Friday, July 24

- MacArthur High School — 8 a.m.

- Carver HS for Engineering, Applied Technology & the Arts — 11 a.m.

- Nimitz High School — 1 p.m.

- Blanson Career and Technical Education High School — 4 p.m.

- Aldine High School — 5:30 p.m.

Fort Bend Independent School District

The district announces its plans to host this year’s graduation ceremonies at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land at the end of July.

The district said if large gatherings are not permissible by July due to the pandemic, it will hold virtual commencements.

Here are the following dates and times of the ceremonies:

Sunday, July 19, 2020

- Clement High School -- 1 p.m.

- Austin High School -- 4:30 p.m.

- Ridge Point High School -- 8 p.m.

Monday, July 20, 2020

- Hightower High School -- 9:30 a.m.

- Bush High School -- 1 p.m.

- Elkins High School -- 4:30 p.m.

- Dulles High School -- 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

- Marshall High School -- 9:30 a.m.

- Kempner High School -- 1 p.m.

- Travis High School -- 4:30 p.m.

- Willowridge High School -- 8 p.m.

Texas City Independent School District

Texas City ISD announced its plan to move forward with an in-person graduation ceremony on June 27 at Moody Gardens Convention Center, which was originally set for June 5 before the closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The district said if large groups of people are discouraged due to pandemic, a plan will be put in place as a last resort to organize a virtual graduation.

Here are the following times of the ceremonies:

- La Marque High School would have ceremonies at 11 a.m.

- Texas City High School would have ceremonies at 3 p.m.

Alvin Independent School District

Alvin ISD plans to have two graduation ceremonies — a virtual one in May and an in-person ceremony in July.

“What we heard from our families is that they want that in-person graduation experience, even if that was later this year, so we are going to do our best to make that happen,” said Alvin ISD Superintendent Carol Nelson. “By creating a virtual graduation as well, we will be able to celebrate these remarkable students on their actual graduation day so they can still have as close to the graduation experience as possible during these unprecedented times.”

The district will have all the usual pomp and circumstance, including valedictorian and salutatorian speeches and all graduating students’ names will be called. Alvin ISD said it is still planning on how the online graduation will look, but it will allow graduates, families and friends to watch from their homes on May 24. The time will be determined.

“We know this has been a difficult end to the school year for our seniors. Hopefully, by providing both a virtual and in-person graduation, this will give our seniors a sense of closure with high school and allow them to look ahead to their future endeavors with hope and positivity,” Nelson shared.

Here are the following dates and times of the ceremonies:

- July 16 at 7:30 pm – Shadow Creek High School – Alvin ISD’s Freedom Field

- July 17 at 2:00 pm – RISE Academy – Marguerite Edwards Performing Arts Center at Alvin High School

- July 17 at 7:30 pm – Manvel High School – Alvin ISD’s Freedom Field

- July 18 at 7:30 pm – Alvin High School – Alvin ISD’s Freedom Field

Lamar Consolidated Independent School District

Lamar CISD announced that the cancellation of prom for all its high schools and rescheduling its graduation ceremony dates.

“We understand that this has been a challenging time full of uncertainty for our seniors. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to change our way of life, we know this isn’t how anyone imagined their senior year. Seniors—please know, we appreciate your accomplishments and we support you as you take your next steps in life,” the district stated in a release.

If for any reason, the district is not able to hold traditional graduation ceremonies in June, Lamar CISD said it is looking at virtual graduations as a back-up option and will continue to communicate any changes to the community.

Here are the following dates and times of the ceremonies:

Friday, June 26, 2020 – Merrell Center

  • Fulshear High School (2:30 p.m.)
  • Foster High School (7:30 p.m.)

Saturday, June 27, 2020 – Merrell Center

  • Terry High School (10 a.m.)
  • Lamar Consolidated High School (2:30 p.m.)
  • George Ranch High School (7 p.m.)

All ceremonies will be streamed live.

This list will be updated as more information for other districts become available.

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