Class of 2020 Graduation Update - May 12

Class of 2020 Graduation Update: May 12
Posted on 05/12/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Class of 2020 Graduation Update: May 12On May 12, the following communication was shared with senior students and parents about Lakota's alternative graduation plans in light of the state's latest guidance. Click here to view a comprehensive list of FAQs regarding Lakota's Class of 2020 graduation planning.

Graduation plan Class of 2020Dear Lakota East and Lakota West Students, Parents & Guardians,

On May 1, we shared Lakota’s unexpected change of plans for celebrating the Class of 2020. This was a direct response to the governor’s strong recommendations against large, in-person commencement gatherings, now or later this summer, as well as guidelines set forth by the Ohio Department of Education.

The non-traditional format that we shared was the product of many rounds of plans that we had shared with the Butler County Health Department. Thank you for sharing your honest feedback with us. We appreciate the words of support, as well as your suggestions and concerns.

Since then, our team has continued to meet daily to determine a way to enhance our original proposal with some of the ideas you have shared, and in light of the continuously evolving criteria of our local health officials. We sincerely appreciate your patience as we try to keep up with these changing expectations, as well as shape a plan that is both respectful of the health and safety of our community and celebratory of our most-deserving graduates. The compliance piece of this process has been very important to us. All along, we have been mindful of sharing any plan that we were not confident would be approved by our local health officials. 

We are pleased to announce the recent approval of multiple in-person ceremonies that mimic a drive-in theater format, but in a space that is more accommodating and representative of our graduates: the Lakota East and Lakota West parking lots. Please understand that we have also gathered feedback about this new plan from groups of students, parents and staff members, once we obtained the necessary permission from the Butler County health commissioner. 

While a mass in-person gathering of any sorts was at first denied, some very specific provisions for the safety and well-being of attendees has made this revised format possible. Those provisions include:

  • The ceremonies, complete with student and staff speakers, will be held in our schools’ main parking lots, with a stage situated in front of each school’s main entrance.
  • We anticipate holding four (4) ceremonies for East and three (3) for West. Each class will be divided alphabetically.
  • Because of the number of ceremonies required for Lakota East, and respecting our families who will participate in religious services on Sunday morning, ceremonies will be scheduled as follows: 
    • Lakota East: May 30 at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
    • Lakota West: May 31 at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
    • The rain dates will be June 6 and 7, respectively. 
  • All attendees will be assigned a specific parking space to respect required spacing regulations and ensure the flow of the ceremony.
  • Due to space constraints and the direction of the health commissioner, we must limit the number of cars to two (2) per graduate, if absolutely needed. We respectfully ask that only immediate family members attend, totaling no more than 10 per group, including the graduate. Oversized vehicles, such as party buses and/or limos, will not be permitted.
  • Cars with graduates and their family members will be assigned a parking space in the rows nearest the building. Parking for a second car, if necessary, will be assigned to spots behind the graduates or, in the case of Lakota East, to the sides.
  • Following all physical distancing guidelines, graduates will be escorted in small groups to the stage by staff members, where their name will be called using our sound system. Each graduate will receive both their diploma case and actual diploma. Like our traditional ceremony, professional photographers will be on hand to take a photograph once the graduate exits the stage with their diploma.
  • Family members must stay at their cars at all times. We are partnering with a local radio station to also broadcast the ceremony via the radio in addition to the sound system. 

Like you, we would prefer the traditional ceremony at Cintas Center, but we are facing unprecedented circumstances that simply do not make that possible. I am grateful that our county health department has granted us permission to hold this modified version of our graduation ceremony.

Due to the extensive coordination needed to accommodate our seniors and their families, we ask that you complete this new survey no later than May 17 if you plan to attend. Mrs. Davis and Mr. Card will follow up with more specific instructions for all attendees as we get closer to the graduation dates.

Click here to view a complete FAQ about decisions surrounding the Class of 2020 graduation.

Virtual Ceremony: In addition to our in-person recognition, we continue to plan for a very special virtual celebration of our seniors through a special live video premiere in early June. More information will be shared from the buildings once those dates are finalized.

Parade of Graduates: Finally, I hope that you are able to tune into our live Parade of Graduates virtual celebrations which began on Monday with Adena and continued today with Hopewell. The videos are premiering daily at noon on our district Facebook page and YouTube channel. Additionally, I hope that you will help us light the path for our seniors by tying a ribbon in your school’s colors around a tree or lamp post in your front yard and turning on your porch lights at 8:20 p.m. (2020 military time) on May 20 for Lakota West and May 22 for Lakota East to honor the Class of 2020.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we do our best to keep everyone safe and healthy and also honor our Class of 2020 in the best way we can. 




Matthew J. Miller