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Lafayette High School announces 2020 graduation plans

Lafayette High School is doing the best they can to provide a normal graduation for the Class of 2020, and Lafayette County School District announced its official graduation plan on Monday.

Seniors across the country are experiencing a new normal, which consists of missing out on proms and even traditional graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Over a span of four days in May, graduates will take part in a private ceremony with up to five family members at the Lafayette Middle School auditorium. The days graduates can film their private ceremony will be May 19 through 22. Each graduate will receive their diploma and turn their tassel to signify their graduation from Lafayette High School.

Lafayette’s graduation ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on May 22 at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum on the University of Mississippi campus.

“We were hoping to be able to be out as a community at Tad Smith on (May 22), but the current conditions don’t allow for that,” said LHS principal Dr. Glenn Kitchens.

During graduation week, each senior will be filmed as they drive through to pick up their cap and gown, as part of a program called “Parade of Seniors.” This will serve as the processional for the ceremony.

Lafayette worked with a group to secure “keeper gowns,” according to Kitchens. Each student will be allowed to keep both their graduation cap and gown so they can use them for any potential summer events with family or their churches once mass gatherings are allowed to resume.

Another aspect of Lafayette’s week-long celebration of their seniors includes each graduate having a final walk-through of LHS Commons and the school’s main hallway as they make their way to the LMS auditorium.

“Just some fun things to try and keep it there and close for them and get all of that done in a way that’s meaningful and as memorable as we can make it,” Kitchens said. “It’s challenging when you have to limit the amount of people that can come with them.”

The virtual ceremony will still include a processional, speeches by valedictorian Mason Bay and salutatorian Taylor Hartfield, music by senior members of the LHS choir and awards and recognition of each senior by calling their names.

The class Commencement will be live streamed at 6 p.m. on May 22 through the school district’s website, the Dores Roku channel, Amazon Fire Stick, Facebook and Instagram.

“We are trying to make this a special occasion for our graduates,” said Lafayette school superintendent Dr. Adam Pugh. “We want our seniors to know we love and appreciate them.”

Due to LHS conducting the week-long virtual ceremony, the May 22 ceremony will have senior portraits appear when each graduate’s name is called. A second airing of the graduation, with the individual ceremonies replacing the portraits, will take place on June 5.