After many traditional senior activities have been canceled or adapted to digital platforms, many seniors worried about whether or not the hallmark event—graduation—would be compromised as well.
In late April, Class of 2021 sponsor Marcos Sandoval, teacher and coordinator David Lee, and the club’s leaders announced Venice High’s plans to host in-person graduation on Friday, June 11, the last day of school.
In their preliminary announcement, Sandoval and the student leaders previewed their intentions to split the graduation by last name, one of many measures being taken to ensure COVID-19 guideline compliance.
The ceremony for students whose last names run from A-K starting at 10 a.m., and the ceremony for those from L-Z beginning at 3 p.m. Each ceremony will last for about two hours, with time in between ceremonies designated for thorough sanitization and cleaning.
Within a week of the graduation ceremony, students must obtain a negative COVID-19 test through the district’s Daily Pass system. Students will have the opportunity to take the test needed for graduation on Monday, June 7, and June 8, the days in which seniors come back to campus to return books and school-issued Chromebooks, along with cap & gown and award collection.
“There will be up to two guests per graduate allowed, and those two guests will be seated directly behind the graduate as a three-person pod,” Sandoval said.
No guests will be allowed to sit in the brand new bleachers, which will be reserved for the Venice High Band, Choir, and any other musical performers.
Guests are required to wear a mask for the entirety of the ceremony, while students may take them off when giving remarks on stage. Guests must also remain seated for the duration of the ceremony, except for when their student is giving regards or remarks.
Before graduation, students were required to pre-register their guests via the Graduation Information and Consent Form, where they filled in their guests’ information and agreed to the aforementioned COVID-19 guidelines.
Though guests, unlike students, are not required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test, attendees vulnerable to COVID-19 are advised to attend the ceremony at their own risk and discretion.
According to Sandoval, students will have an opportunity to take a photo with Principal Gabriel Griego during the ceremony. This will be Griego’s final graduation ceremony at Venice High.
In addition to the graduation ceremony, the Class of 2021 is also hosting a Hollywood-themed senior promenade tomorrow, allowing students to stroll through campus and visit multiple photo-op stations and other attractions.
There will still be safety measures and other rules in place, however, to ensure the event runs safely and smoothly.
“Students are expected to be wearing masks unless they are taking a photo,” Sandoval said.
Students must have a chaperone driver, so students can not drive themselves. They will be dropped off by their chaperones in the courtyard between the new Blackwood building and the cafeteria.
“It will give them one last opportunity before graduation to be able to see what the campus looks like after having gone through four years of construction, and they’ll be able to actually see each other on campus and spend some time together,” Sandoval said.