Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley announced Friday that the seven TPSS high schools will wait until late June to provide the Class of 2020 an opportunity for more traditional graduation ceremonies.
Stilley said the public has been very vocal in their preference to see a more traditional graduation ceremony for this year’s high school seniors, and she said her office, the School Board, and the seven high schools will do everything they can to offer larger scale, in-person programs after the state enters Phase II of the COVID-19 recovery period.
“I hope our seniors and their families know that we are listening, and we hear their wishes. While we don’t know exactly what a summer ceremony will look like, we are open and willing to meet their requests and do our best to provide our seniors an opportunity for a more traditional graduation ceremony later this summer,” Stilley said.
As a result, the previously-scheduled “drive-thru” and “Graduation on the Geaux” ceremonies that were slated to begin next week have all been canceled. “There will be no TPSS high school graduation ceremonies until the last part of June,” Stilley said.
Under the proposal agreed upon by the seven principals Friday, the district will plan to hold graduation ceremonies on the following schedule:
—Amite High Magnet School: June 19
—Hammond High Magnet School: June 23
—Independence High Magnet School: June 25
—Jewel M. Sumner High School: June 22
—Kentwood High Magnet School: June 26
—Loranger High School: June 24
—Ponchatoula High School: June 27
Specific details on those ceremonies will be released by the school closer to the date. Schools will have alternative plans ready for this date if there are any other governmental orders that prohibit more traditional ceremonies, Stilley said.
Students who need to receive their diploma prior to their graduation date should contact their principal.
“We know that there are seniors who are entering the military or going into a post-secondary program or the workforce who expected to receive their diplomas sooner than this June schedule. We are here to help them by making those arrangements before they transition to this new era in their lives,” Stilley said.
The Superintendent offered her sincere thanks to the high schools for being so flexible in adjusting their plans to suit the needs of their students.
“We are living in unprecedented times, and I am so grateful to our high schools for the countless hours they are putting into planning these ceremonies for our students,” Stilley said. “I am also appreciative of the community for working with us and offering us feedback on how we can make this experience better for our students. We as a district are committed to keeping our kids safe while keeping in focus our core value to be compassionate to the legitimate wants and needs of our students and their families. Everyone in our system is sensitive to the hard work that our graduating seniors have completed, and we share in their desire to celebrate this accomplishment publicly with family and friends before they pursue their future endeavors.”