Middletown High School planning virtual graduation ceremony this week

Middletown High School will hold a virtual graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the district’s Facebook page. FILE PHOTO
Middletown High School will hold a virtual graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the district’s Facebook page. FILE PHOTO

Middletown High School is planning a virtual graduation ceremony this week for the Class of 2020.

Principal Carmella Cotter notified students and parents that several members of senior class requested to pick up their diplomas early because of commitments such as military, so the school decided to hold a virtual graduation ceremony on Tuesday, the originally scheduled graduation date.

In her letter, Cotter said the school has not given up on the idea of a ceremony in July, but the number of people in Butler County testing positive for the coronavirus is a concern and no one wants to put into jeopardy a celebration for any student. She said the school is remaining hopeful for the July 9 ceremony, but no one knows what the future holds.

“Please know that this virus will not rob our Middie graduates of their bright futures,” Cotter said. “You have been a wonderful group of young people and continue to be our pride and joy!”

Middletown became the latest district to set plans for a virtual or individualized ceremony. Earlier this week, Hamilton announced it would hold a virtual graduation ceremony broadcast at the Holiday Drive-In and then a drive-thru diploma pick-up. Other districts have planned parking lot ceremonies to families in cars and events that would include each graduation having their own private ceremony and walk on a stage.

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Elizabeth Beadle, Middletown district spokeswoman, said there are approximately 360 seniors that are candidates for graduation.

“The students didn’t want anything fancy,” she said. “They wanted it to be about them and Middletown High School. We thought that it was a good idea because it was student-driven.”

Beadle said the virtual ceremony will include pre-recorded speeches from Cotter and Middletown Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. as well as 15-second “Middie Moments” from teachers and parents.

On Monday and Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to noon, students can pick up the previously reserved loaner caps and gowns, and honor cords at the high school. They can also drop off books and Chomebooks during those times.

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At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the school will hold a brief graduation ceremony via the district’s Facebook page, facebook.com/middletowncityschools. During this ceremony, the school ask that graduates at home wear their caps and gowns, and participate in the tassel transfer from right to left, the cap throw, and the jubilation with their quarantined family members.

In addition, family members are being invited to take pictures and short 15-second videos of the home celebrations and upload them to the school. The school will be creating a Middie family album of this momentous occasion.

On Thursday and Friday, graduates can return loaner gowns and collect their diplomas between 9 a.m. and noon at the high school.

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