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Oxford High School announces graduation plans

Oxford High School’s Class of 2020 will still get the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, but it will look a little different this year.

On Tuesday, OHS principal Noah Hamilton sent a letter to seniors and their parents about this year’s graduation ceremony and the changes that are being made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s ceremony will be taped over two days next month and then broadcasted on May 15, the day Oxford’s graduation was scheduled to take place at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum on the Ole Miss campus.

“Your graduation story will always be a part of Oxford High School’s history from this point forward,” Hamilton’s letter began. “Your senior year is a milestone filled with memories to be cherished, but some of those stories were cut short due to unforeseeable circumstances. There is no way we could have imagined ending the year this way. Please know that YOU have been discussed in every meeting, leadership decision, and every brainstorming session about the end of the year.”

With Ole Miss cancelling all in-person programming on all its campuses until Aug. 1, both Oxford and Lafayette’s graduations will not be allowed to take place at the “Tad Pad” next month. To make up for the traditional ceremony being cancelled this year, OHS is still providing the graduation experience for its seniors.

Seniors will be provided their cap and gown and will take the stage at the Kayla Mize Auditorium at Oxford Middle School. They will be joined by up to five family members or friends on stage for a pre-recorded ceremony filmed by a production crew. The filming will take place across two days on May 5 and 6. Plans for broadcasting the ceremony are still being finalized by Oxford School District.

Photographer Rick Addy will also be on hand during the two-day recording to photograph the moment, just as he would have during the traditional ceremony.

“Graduation is an important milestone –hearing your name called out, accepting your diploma in-hand, and walking across the stage is a privilege that you have earned,” Hamilton said. “We have made arrangements to give that experience to you.”

In addition to commencement, seniors and their parents are also encouraged to provide input on how OHS can celebrate their seniors, as many school districts across the country have announced creative ways to rally the graduates for a final parade around their school and through town.

Any parents who have ideas that still follow the CDC social distancing guidelines can fill out this form or contact the school district’s central office.