On Tuesday, May 19, Hopkins High School Principal Doug Bullinger, announced an alternative plan for graduation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The plan adheres to health and safety regulations and also honors the components of graduation students and families felt were most important.
"Regardless of our current set of circumstances, graduating from high school is a defining moment in life, and we're proud of all that you've done to get to this point, especially in the face of COVID-19," said Bullinger in a letter to students and families.
The date of graduation will remain Thursday, June 4, but commencement will look much different. It includes a hybrid of planned activities and a virtual ceremony, starting with a drive-through graduation and mini-graduation car parades in the afternoon and ending with a 7 p.m. broadcast of commencement airing on local radio and Youtube Premiere, giving families the option to opt into the format they prefer. The alternative graduation plan was created after careful review of survey data from students and families, as well as guidance issued by the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Health.
"Our traditional ceremony will not take place as previously scheduled, but our students are still graduating and we will celebrate them in a safe and memorable fashion," Bullinger said.
An outline of Hopkins High School Graduation is provided below. More details will be shared as the date draws closer:
Afternoon of June 4, Time TBA
- Drive-through graduation and mini car parades
Graduates and their families will be invited to take part in a drive-through graduation and small "car parades," starting at Hopkins High School in the main parking lot.
- How it works: Families and their graduates will be asked to drive in a vehicle (one per family) to Hopkins High School at an assigned time. They will drive by the traditional presentation of flags, which represents the birth countries of the class of 2020 and pass Hopkins High School staff who will be curbside cheering for them. Graduates will be presented with their diplomas. After cars make their way through the drive-through graduation experience, they will be led through the North Junior High parking lot to their respective elementary schools. Elementary staff as well as junior high staff will be invited to stand outside to see the seniors and their families drive by.
- What seniors should know: Seniors are welcome to decorate their car. Each family will be asked to remain in their vehicle for the entirety of the event. The drive-through graduation and mini parades are optional. Those who have underlying health conditions or are worried about COVID-19 transmission are discouraged from participating. All participants are required to wear masks for safety. More complete details of this event will be shared during the week of May 25.
Evening of June 4
On June 4, at 7 p.m., the graduation ceremony will be broadcast on AM 950 and will premiere on YouTube at the same time. The broadcast will include all the components of a traditional graduation including speeches, Pomp & Circumstance, and the reading of student names.
- Virtual Tribute Video
A video tribute to the class of 2020 filled with well wishes from staff, student memories, footage of the car parades, and other special surprises will be shared with the class of 2020 on June 4 or shortly after. This video will be a memorable keepsake to document this unprecedented graduation and also pay homage to our amazing Hopkins High School Class of 2020 Graduates.
To show additional support virtually, we have created a digital toolkit. Download your favorite graphics and give the Class of 2020 a shout out.