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High school graduation ceremonies for Shelby County Schools to be held in July

Largest school district in Tennessee announces its “Senior Celebration Series”
Credit: AP

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —


SCS Announces 2020 Senior Celebration Series

Memphis, TN – Today, Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray announced plans for Shelby County Schools (SCS) to host a series of 2020 senior celebrations.

"We know that graduation marks a special moment to celebrate earning a diploma from Shelby County Schools," said Ray. "These ceremonies hold that same importance for me and all of our District leaders. While there have been many upheavals associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency, we feel we must do what’s best to keep students and families safe while also celebrating this momentous time in their lives."

Unlike other surrounding districts, SCS is the largest district in Tennessee and accounts for over 30 high schools and more than 6,000 seniors.

"That means the challenges are very different for SCS to plan graduation events on this scale," said Ray.

Given the continued need to follow social distancing and public gathering guidelines, SCS gathered feedback from the School Board, principal focus groups, community members, and the Class of 2020 while developing a plan.

"We are excited to announce our three-tiered senior celebrations that will tentatively take place in May, June and July," Ray said. "Our seniors have earned this moment, and we feel it is our responsibility to provide them with several opportunities to celebrate your hard work."

Beginning tentatively on May 18, SCS will begin commemorating our 2020 seniors as we launch a new graduation website. It will feature commemorative programs for every high school, listing every 2020 graduate, that students and parents can download as keepsakes. The site will also feature special video messages and be updated frequently with details about ongoing graduation activities.

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In June, we’ll host "Drive-Thru Senior Salutes." Schools will be sharing plans soon for seniors and their families to safely visit campus - tentatively set for the week of June 8 - to pick up diplomas and awards. Students and their families will also be able to decorate their cars and enjoy special senior-themed photo opportunities. Of course, we will be following safe social distancing guidelines.

In July, the District is scheduling traditional graduation ceremonies - tentatively set for July 13-26. Specific dates and location details will be shared closer to that time. As a reminder, we must abide by city or state health and safety regulations regarding large gatherings. With that in mind, we will have a backup plan to conduct virtual ceremonies if necessary and make that determination at least one week prior to the scheduled start of ceremonies. However, at this time, please know our full intent is to conduct traditional ceremonies for our Class of 2020 in July.

"We trust that distance learning is going well under the circumstances and that students are engaged with their teachers as we move toward successful completion of the school year," said Ray. "We are grateful for the patience and understanding of our families. One thing is for sure, Coronavirus will NOT defeat us. The Class of 2020 is SCS Senior Strong and we will forever be family. WE ARE 901!"

SCS will be sharing details this week regarding senior fees and refunds, as well as how all students can safely pick up items or property that was left at school.

This plan does not apply to SCS Charter Schools as they are developing senior celebrations independent of the District.

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