GALION — A weekend memo from the Ohio Department of Education urging school district across the state to not postpone graduations in the hope of being able to have a traditional ceremony has prompted some school district to consider changing their 2020 plans.
Colonel Crawford had already announced plans to hold a non-traditional graduation program on May 17. The start time is 1:30 p.m. and it will be outside, rain or shine, despite the outdoor location. This program will more closely resemble a drive-in movie theater than a packed gymnasium.
Graduation will be in the Colonel Crawford High School parking lot. There will be a parking area for seniors. As each graduate is introduced, the car will be driven up to the front of the parking area, the graduate will get out of the vehicle, walk across a state and get their diploma.
The program will be broadcast live on a local radio station so family and friends in the parking lot can listen to it on their car radios. Another local company will make a video tape, edit it and make it available to seniors. It will include the program, more photos, speeches and other highlights from the seniors’ abbreviated school year.
There will be additional parking available in the lot for family and friends. However, that part of the lot will not open until 1:15 p.m., just 15 minutes before the graduation begins.
Colonel Crawford administrators had already made the decision to not postpone graduation.
“I think the ODE letter led some credence to what we had decided to do,” said Colonel Crawford superintendent Todd Martin. “They told us that the situation was not likely to change. They encouraged us to have graduations on, or as close as possible, to the date it was originally scheduled.
“There are just too many unknowns to hold off. There may be fewer people to attend later in the summer because of jobs, or they are going into the military or school may start early for others.”
Crestline administrators have not changed plans as of Monday, and still hope to have a ‘traditional’ ceremony. However, optional plans are already in the works.
“It is my intent to exhaust all options to try and hold a face-to-face ceremony,” said superintendent Matt Henderson. “We will follow any requirements on social distancing and graduation that are put forth by Governor DeWine and the Health Department.”
The school district’s website spells graduation plans:
“The current plan is to hold a live graduation, in Hutson Stadium, if at all possible, on May 29 or May 30 (rain date). If May is not an option, we will use the alternate date of July 16 or July 17 (rain date). During this graduation ceremony, we will be observing social distancing and limiting the number of persons in attendance. More information about this will be sent directly to parents of Crestline seniors..
If neither of those dates are an option per the governor’s orders, we will hold a “drive-in” ceremony at the school, next to the Hutson Stadium entrance on the most appropriate date.
We are also preparing a virtual ceremony as a last and final option, if we are not permitted to hold any live graduation or ‘drive-in’ ceremony.”
Galion City Schools and Northmor did not immediately respond to an email seeking information about graduation plans.