In a letter to Hilliard City Schools seniors and their families, Superintendent John Marschhausen wrote that although his "heart aches" for the class of 2020, circumstances require that traditional graduations cannot occur as planned.
Graduations will be broadcasted May 20-22 "to mark the official conferment of degrees," Marschhausen wrote.
The district will continue to "explore the opportunity" to stage a physical gathering.
Here's Marschhausen's unedited letter:
Class of 2020 and Families:
As your Superintendent and the father of a graduating senior, my heart aches for the Class of 2020. Your hopes and dreams for the spring of your senior year have been changed; you will never forget the historic crisis which marks the end of your Hilliard education. The Class of 2020 has an indelible place in history.
As we look forward and explore alternative plans to celebrate your graduation, there are two promises I make with confidence. First, we will have you Ready for Your Tomorrow. We will graduate as scheduled and you will be prepared for your next chapter. Secondly, as soon as it is safe and permissible, we will make plans to celebrate as the Class of 2020.
READY FOR TOMORROW
There are two components to the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020. On May 20, 21, and 22, 2020, our scheduled commencement dates, we are preparing for Virtual Graduation Ceremonies, to mark the official conferment of degrees. We will broadcast each evening, a Virtual Graduation Ceremony at 7:00 PM. You will officially graduate high school as scheduled. Your transcripts will be sent to colleges, the military, and employers. This crisis will not impede the next steps on life’s journey. Our graduating seniors are Ready for Tomorrow. The Class of 2020 will do amazing things in the future.
As soon as it is safe to gather in larger groups, either inside or outside, we will explore the opportunity for graduation ceremonies. I wish we could provide a date, but there are just too many unknowns to make plans. We don’t know when it will be safe for 400 seniors to be in one location. We don’t know if we can have over 5,000 friends and family members gather at the Schottenstein Center. We do know that The Ohio State University has cancelled all events through early July. We don’t want to commit to an event that may not be safe. We don’t raise hopes when so much is uncertain. That would’t be fair to this class.
But we aren’t giving up! We are open to using our stadiums on summer evenings; we would consider an event with seniors only that we could stream for friends and families. We also have alternate dates at The Schottenstein Center reserved if permissible. We have discussed having outdoor proms on the football fields - flip flop and flats. It is all on the table. I know our principals have been communicating with Class Officers. You, the graduating seniors, will have a voice in the planning. When it is safe to celebrate, we will engage the Class of 2020 to consider options and plan together.
While we have three distinct high schools, with great school pride and traditions, there are times when we must come together as One Hilliard Family. This is one of those times. Our plans will be consistent and unified. We will work together – principals, students, families, and community members. One example of this is that the City of Hilliard and our three athletic department have arranged for the senior banners for spring athletes to be hung on the light posts in Old Hilliard. We celebrate our seniors as One Hilliard.
Please continue to do your part to maintain social distancing, stay safe, and be healthy.
Dr. John Marschhausen