MCPS and Poolesville graduation ceremonies move online

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) announced that they would hold an online graduation ceremony. This ceremony will be held in addition to an in-person ceremony at a later date when social distancing restrictions are lifted. Also, individual schools are planning on holding their own graduation ceremonies that are focused on the graduates from their schools following the whole county ceremony.

MCPS announced that the county-wide online ceremony would be held on June 7. The ceremony celebrated over 10,500 seniors and was aired live at 6 p.m. on Cozi TV, MCPS TV, and online on the official MCPS website. The speaker for the event was  Jose Andres, the founder of World Central Kitchen. They have also shown support to the students via social media. Leading up to the event, MCPS sent out a message to celebrate the seniors over social media from May 14-22. They have encouraged staff members, families, and friends to send out positive videos and messages using the hashtag “#MCPSClassof2020.”

PHS announced that the school specific graduation will be taking place at 12 pm on June 9. The format and how to access this ceremony is still in the planning stages but the school is taking strides to make the ceremony as authentic as possible. On May 26, students had access to a picture station that featured the graduating student in their cap and gown which will be used for the online ceremony. This will be used to highlight each individual senior.

“Our local graduation will solely feature Poolesville High School students and staff as a recognition of our 2020 graduating Falcons. All graduates will be featured and announced, and all remarks will be from our students and staff,” said principal Mark Carothers.

In addition, the SGA officers have had the opportunity to give their input by meeting with Principal Carothers.

“The SGA has conducted virtual meetings with Mr. Carothers to voice ideas for improving virtual graduation and planning a future in person graduation when safe,” said senior class SGA president and Global senior Frankie Willard.

Despite efforts being made by both MCPS and PHS to make the online ceremonies as genuine and meaningful as possible, the fact that an in-person graduation ceremony is not promised to the class of 2020 has had a toll on some students.

“Personally, I feel like a virtual meeting simply can not hold the same gravity that an in person graduation has, however, I appreciate the county and school’s efforts to support seniors and a virtual graduation is better than nothing,” stated Willard.