San Benito High plans virtual grad ceremony

Class of ‘20 will be recognized despite school closure

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It's a red-and-white world at San Benito High School, as graduates gather for the June 7 commencement.

By Juan Reyes

Graduation plans for San Benito High School were still up in the air as school closures affected several student activities for the rest of spring semester. 

But the school will continue with its ceremony and for most people it’s going to be something out of this world. 

Or at least it’s going to feel like it. 

Graduation coordinator Brian DeCarli said in a video posted by the school that they will use MarchingOrder, which will provide a virtual ceremony that will bring students to the closest thing to a graduation.  

“There will be a virtual ceremony that will be provided to ensure all students have access to a safe and equitable ceremony,” DeCarli said.

DeCarli said they can’t control state restrictions and regulations, but the online ceremony will allow for seniors to be recognized for their accomplishments. 

Students and their families will be able to access the ceremony at any time after it’s posted online, which should be around the original graduation ceremony on June 5.

MarchingOrder provides virtual ceremonies to schools that wish to provide their graduates with a chance to celebrate on their planned commencement day. 

A virtual ceremony includes speeches to be displayed to the graduates and their families, whether pre-recorded or webcast live.

Each student will be recognized with individual achievements, maybe some personal recognition and a photo in either a cap and gown or a senior portrait.

DeCarli said the students’ names will be announced in a professional manner and their names won’t be mispronounced. 

“We’re actually stepping up our game quite a bit,” he said.

The students will receive a message through their school email. An explanation video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/JjZ4ZEnh5lQ.

As for caps and gowns, the students are required to pick them up via drive thru in Baler Alley at a time and date yet to be determined.

DeCarli said the virtual ceremony does not close the door on a possible in-person recognition at a later date.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said if they see a decline in hospitalizations in the next two weeks then they’ll reassess the situation. 

“While Californians have stepped up in a big way to flatten the curve and buy us time to prepare to fight the virus, at some point in the future we will need to modify our stay-at-home order,” Newsom said. “As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before.”

Newsom said they will explore options such as restaurants having fewer tables and classrooms reconfigured.

“We’ll explore options for this school year thinking outside of the box,” Newsom said.

The graduation committee will hold a Zoom meeting to discuss the possibility of an in-person celebration for the class of 2020. 

“I can tell you that you are valued,” DeCarli said.

School meals continue

In other news, food service supervisor Jim Lewis said on Monday they assembled and distributed 1,200 meals to the community. 

“We hope that everyone had a blessed Easter and will be back to visit us,” he said.

San Benito High, located at 1220 Monterey Street, is distributing meals three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

“On Monday and Wednesday we are supplying two days of lunch and breakfasts so no student is without [food] during non-distribution days,” Lewis said.

If a special education student or parent needs specialized support, please reach out to Paulette Cobb at 637-5831, ext. 130, or for Spanish call Nydia Buelna at extension 131.

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