Class of 2020 Graduation Update

Class of 2020 Graduation Update
Posted on 05/01/2020
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Class of 2020 graduation plans for Lakota East and WestThe 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.

Dear Lakota East & Lakota West Students, Parents & Guardians, 


We have been closely following the updates and guidance of Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio and Butler County departments of health as it relates to the appropriate facilitation of graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020. Like many of you, we are coming to terms with the difficult reality that a traditional commencement ceremony on the new summer dates we announced last month is not going to be feasible. 


In Wednesday’s press conference, the governor clarified that physical or social distancing must be the number one priority in planning a graduation ceremony, eliminating the possibility of a mass gathering for a district our size. While virtual ceremonies are the preferred method, schools are permitted to host an opportunity for graduates to receive their diplomas in person, as long as the gathering does not exceed more than 10 people and still respects social distancing rules. Further guidance from the Butler County Health Department has also eliminated the option of an indoor gathering.


We understand the deep disappointment that comes with this announcement, which is why we’ve decided to proceed with a combination of both formats to honor the Lakota East and Lakota West Class of 2020 in the best way we can. Please understand that we’ve explored countless different scenarios, only to realize that physical distancing rules, paired with the size of our graduating class, make no other format realistic. 


In addition to a virtual celebration that we will unveil through a live watch party in early June (dates TBD), we are happy to offer our graduates and their families a personal graduation experience. Tentatively set for May 30 (and May 31 depending on the number of participants), each graduate will be invited to receive their diploma case in a drive-through procession. We have worked with our local health department in order to obtain their approval so that our graduates can experience some form of commencement.


Please understand the strict guidelines under which we will be operating for this event, under the advisement of the Butler County Health Department: 


  • Only one car per graduate will be permitted to use the fire lane at each high school and stop in front of the building. 

  • The graduate and one family member may exit the car at this time. 

  • Graduates will walk toward the school where their name will be called. Although limited staff will be present for the occasion, to honor all physical distancing rules, graduates will retrieve their diploma case from a table, free of any physical contact. 

  • We will mail diplomas to each home in June.

  • Every graduate will be professionally photographed once they receive their diploma case. 

  • Each graduate’s guest will be permitted to take personal video and photographs while the graduate receives their diploma case, while respecting physical distancing rules.

  • After having their photograph taken, graduates and their guests will be expected to immediately exit the fire lane. Any congregation in the parking lot will not be permitted and will be strictly enforced. 

  • Graduates are encouraged to wear their cap and gown. Your principals will be communicating more information about pick-up procedures soon.


While we know that not every graduate will choose to participate in this portion of the commemoration, the virtual celebration will honor every single graduate and will include some elements of our regular commencement traditions, along with other special tributes. 


If you wish to participate in the personal graduation experience, please complete this interest survey by May 15. We will follow-up with more details, including your designated time and additional instructions. 


As heartbreaking as this news is for all of our students and their families, these decisions have not come easily. We are truly heartbroken knowing all that our students and their families have sacrificed throughout this pandemic. We are doing everything in our power to give our graduates a memorable experience and some form of closure, while still honoring the state’s health guidelines. 


Please look for our “Parade of Graduates” videos being posted daily beginning May 11. Additionally, we are encouraging our community to help us “light the path” for our seniors. On May 20 for Lakota West and May 22 for Lakota East, we are asking our community to tie a ribbon in the school colors on a tree or light post in their yard, along with turning on their porch lights for 20 minutes, beginning at 8:20 p.m. (2020 in military time).


Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate these extremely challenging times. WE are looking forward to honoring our Class of 2020 in the best way we can.


Sincerely,


Matthew Miller

Superintendent