The Kent School District administration sent the following letter to the Class of 2021 and their families, according to a May 28 district website posting:
“We hope you have had a great week. We are writing this afternoon to provide information and clarity about next month’s graduation events.
We will celebrate over 1,700 graduates from four high schools, one academy, and two programs during six events over three days June 17, 18, and 19.
First, we recognize that not all students and families prefer the model for graduation ceremonies this year announced in February. As a leadership team, we decided to hold on-campus, in-person graduation ceremonies, because we clearly heard from our families that you wanted to know much earlier than last year when and where the graduation ceremony would take place and what it would look like. We also heard that families wanted to bring more spectators to the in-person event to share in the ceremony and honor that not all family structures are the same. And finally, after the 2020 graduation event, many families shared with principals how intimate, celebratory, and wonderful the school-based events were for graduates.
We sincerely hope the events each school leader and their staff have planned, described on our website, and outlined more below in a Q&A format demonstrate our commitment to honoring the outstanding accomplishments of our Class of 2021 over the past 13 years in the best and safest way possible. More details will be provided next week directly to students and families from your school principal.
Will students be individually recognized?
Yes. Each student’s name will be announced. Then, they will receive their diploma cover on stage before proceeding back to their vehicle.
How many guests may attend?
Up to eight (8) family members, in no more than two (2) cars, per graduate are invited to watch their graduate receive their diploma cover while wearing their cap and gown. This allows each school to maximize safety and efficiency while also celebrating this important milestone.
Can guests get out of the car?
Yes. Students will have an opportunity to walk across the stage at each school. In addition, there will be a designated area for the one or two cars of up to 8 guests to park and safely exit. There will also be a designated area for guests, directly in front of the stage, to watch their students walk across the stage as their name is announced and receive their diploma cover.
Are masks required?
Yes. Masks are required for all attendees per the WA Department of Health. However, the graduate will be able to take her/his mask off while on stage for photos. If you are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, in alignment with the Department of Health, we ask that you please stay home.
Are there photo opportunities?
Yes. A professional photographer will be present to take photos. Families can also get out of the vehicle to take pictures at the stage and at other designated photo areas for family photos that will vary by school.
We are very much looking forward to celebrating our seniors in just a few short weeks. As we draw closer to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we appreciate your continued support to keep each other safe and finish this school year strong and healthy together.
Dr. Calvin J. Watts, Superintendent
Israel Vela, School Operations & Academic Support
Heidi Maurer, Kentlake Principal
Samantha Ketover, Kentwood Principal
Mike Albrecht, Kentridge Principal
David Radford, Kent-Meridian Principal
Dr. Stephanie Knipp, Kent Academy Principal
Carol Cleveland, iGrad Principal
Susan Whitehall, The Outreach Program Principal