With social distancing and other precautions put into place, Reeltown is going ahead with its graduation ceremony that’ll be as similar to other years as possible. The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, May 22, at Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium like usual.
The one major difference is the seniors will be split into two groups; one will face the home side of the stadium while the other will face the visiting stands and families will be on their graduates’ respective sides.
Reeltown typically honors its top 10 seniors first then the others will be ordered alphabetically and split down the middle between the 78 total seniors.
“This way, all parents will have the opportunity to see their child getting their diploma and don’t have to look at the backs of their heads or anything like that,” Reeltown assistant principal John Wilcox said.
The regular program will consist of valedictorian and salutatorian speeches followed by the handing out of the diplomas. Principal Dr. Tom Cochran will hand each graduate his or her diploma and give the option of shaking his hands. He will have sanitizer handy to use between each graduate.
After the first half of graduates, there will be a short break in which the table of diplomas will be switched to the other side for the next graduate. Each senior will be limited to four tickets and the seniors on the field as well as the guests in the stands will be at least 6 feet apart.
“Familiar will probably be a little bit more than 6 feet; we’ll spread them out a good bit,” Wilcox said. “That’s why the limit of four tickets is there. Graduation normally has about the same crowd as a good home football game does, so we just couldn’t socially distance with that kind of crowd there. But this is a time for families to see their children graduate; that’s a huge step for them all and we’re glad we’re able to make it possible.”
There will be a practice for the seniors only the morning of graduation, and Wilcox said it’ll then be decided whether the seniors will toss their caps from their chairs or as a group in the end zone as usual.
“After having gone through what they’ve gone through, they need this to be as close to normal as possible,” Wilcox said. “It also gives a chance for this class to see each other; they’ve not been together since March 13 so they’ll get to see each other even if it’s from a distance. From many of them, that’s the last time they’ll ever do that, so it was huge for us to provide them something as close to normal as we could do.”
Reeltown also plans to livestream the ceremony on Facebook.