Hart District aims for in-person graduation ceremonies at end of July

Graduating seniors display decorated caps during the 2019 Valencia High School graduation ceremony. The city of Santa Clarita is inviting 2021 graduates of SCV high schools and colleges to decorate their caps and send in images for a virtual exhibit. FILE Dan Watson/The Signal
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Although it still remains uncertain, William S. Hart Union High School District officials have said they’re hoping to have in-person graduations in the last week of July.

During an interview with Hart District spokesman Dave Caldwell published on YouTube Friday, district Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said the in-person graduations would likely have to be postponed due to health officer orders.

“Graduation in June has not been canceled. However, it will likely need to be delayed,” said Kuhlman. “And while our traditional graduation dates remain on the calendar, all information points to the reality that it’s extremely unlikely that we will be authorized to conduct a traditional graduation in June.”

Kuhlman said the public health order also stopped the district from coming up with a creative graduation, with students and attendees staying 6 feet apart or having no audience members.

“If it turns out that July is not a possibility, we would need to come back to the community and the governing board for guidance on whether other delayed dates such as December … would be something that we would all want to consider.”

A virtual “remembrance,” Kuhlman said, is being planned for each school site and would be in addition to the traditional graduation. Each school’s virtual remembrance would occur on that school’s established graduation date.

The remembrances are being worked on by teachers, administrators and students at each specific school site and will be personalized to their school. They will also feature the traditional trappings of a graduation including a commencement speaker, performers, speeches and the presentation of each graduate, Kuhlman said.

These virtual graduations will be posted on the district’s website and available for streaming.

“Some who are disappointed have shared that they will not tune in to the virtual graduation, and we respect and understand everyone’s decision in this regard,” said Kuhlman. “But given that you know that we are open to a delayed onset of graduation, I encourage you to keep an open mind. Consider joining us for this special, indeed historical, occasion, I think it could be worth your time.”

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