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Napoleon To Hold Graduation On July 19

A pair of Napoleon High School graduates wave to the crowd during a graduation parade on May 31 – the original graduation date before the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV.

By Jeff Steers
JTV News 

One way or another, members of the Napoleon High School class of 2020 will have a graduation on Sunday, July 19.

It is only a matter of limitations at this point.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the plans for a graduation on May 31.

A representative graduation committee recently came up with the decision to hold a 1) outdoor graduation – if limitations allow; 2) indoor graduation if limitations allow; or a virtual graduation.

NHS Principal Patrick Dillon released the findings in a recent email concerning the graduation issue.

“We want to thank our representative graduation committee parents and students consisting of Susan Sayles, Lisa Bradley, Mike Boobyer, Elizabeth Phelps, Izzy Ford, and Austin Smith, for participating in the tough decision making,” Dillon write in the email. “We are cancelling the June 14 (and June 16 makeup date for a virtual graduation) and putting all of our eggs in the one basket.”

He noted that just over 80 percent responded to the SignUpGenius slots for a virtual graduation on June 14. Students would walk across a stage, pick up their diplomas with a handful of family members in attendance.

Several surveys of the graduates were conducted asking students about the July 29 date, Aug. 2, or Aug. 9.

Dillon noted that a number of NHS graduates will be out of the area in August for school, military, or other reasons.

Restrictions on the number of persons allowed at an outdoor event in Michigan was recently increased from 100 to 250 persons. Napoleon representatives are hoping in the next month those figures will increase.

An executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer increased the numbers on June 5.

The graduation would be held at 2 p.m. at the Napoleon High School football field.

If weather does not permit for an outdoor ceremony, an indoor event would be held if the number of persons allowed has been increased. The number is currently 50 people at an indoor event – according to the executive order on June 5.

The third and final option is to have students participate in the virtual graduation.

“We sincerely hope that this plan is well received by our community and that they know we are doing our best to make the most of things under the circumstances we have,” Dillon wrote in the email.  “Further notifications of July 19 will be made as we get closer, but please lock in that date.” 

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