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Vicksburg Warren School District provides graduation plans for seniors

The final year of high school has been anything but routine for the Class of 2020, but school officials are working to make their graduation feel as normal as possible.

In a letter to graduates Tuesday announcing that traditional, in-person ceremonies won’t be possible this year at a time when worries about the COVID-19 virus have forced restrictions on large events, the Vicksburg Warren School District laid out plans of how graduation for River City Early College High School, Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School will work. 

“We understand that this is not the ending you had envisioned for your senior year, and we share your disappointment that you will not have the opportunity to gather with your classmates and loved ones for graduation,” the District said in the letter. “While the group ceremonies are canceled, we are committed to giving you the celebration and recognition that you have earned. We want you to know that you are not forgotten — we see your hard work and value your contributions to your school, your community, and to each other.”

While reopening the schools this year was not possible, Superintendent Chad Shealy said it was important a celebration of some kind was organized for the seniors.

“While the in-person ceremonies are canceled, we are committed to celebrating our seniors and giving them the recognition they deserve,” Shealy said. “Even though we are disappointed they can’t graduate together in these circumstances, we hope this plan will honor their hard work and help them understand how proud we are of their accomplishments.”

Some of the details laid out in the letter include:

• VWSD will place a congratulatory sign including the name and photo (where available) at each graduate’s home.

• Each graduate will have an individual graduation ceremony. Graduates will dress in their cap and gown and bring up to four individuals (family, friends, etc.) at an assigned time to be videoed entering the graduation, walking across the stage, receiving their diploma cover, and then, be photographed with their guests. Each high school will reach out to students to provide the location and instructions on how to sign up for a date and time for the video session.

— River City Early College – May 13-14

— Vicksburg High School – May 11-15

— Warren Central High School – May 4-15

• Only one graduate and their guests (up to 4) will be allowed in the facility at a time. As graduates arrive for your session, they and their guests will remain in your vehicle and will receive a text when it is their turn to enter the facility. This will allow the District to abide by the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

• The VWSD Communications team will compile the video commencement to watch online at home at the originally scheduled time for your school’s graduation.

— River City Early College – Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

— Vicksburg High School – Thursday, May 21  at 7 p.m.

— Warren Central High School – Friday, May 22 at 7 p.m.

• Diplomas will be mailed to you after the date of graduation.

“This was your year to shine and you did. You had the power to make the most of this situation and you have — your frustration and hope have fueled innovation and caring,” the District said. “We hope you know how proud we are of each and every Senior and how excited we are to hear about your future accomplishments. We salute you Class of 2020.”

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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