Pima changes graduation ceremony plans to include in-person grad walk

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – After initially advising only having a virtual ceremony, students and parents spoke out to the Pima School District administration and the administration has responded by altering its graduation ceremony plans to include a grad walk for students in the two days prior to the virtual commencement.

Pima will have students in full graduation garb walk across the stage to be filmed and photographed at individual time slots on Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 19, from 7:40 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. for a drive-up graduation.

Each vehicle will be permitted to have up to 10 persons who should be from the same household of the graduate. The vehicles will enter the north side of the field and proceed along the north side of the football field before stopping adjacent to the stage. The graduate and guests will then exit the vehicle and the graduate will walk across the stage to receive their paperwork. Everyone will then return to their vehicle and then next vehicle will be allowed to enter.

The Pima High School virtual graduation will still take place on Wednesday, at 8 p.m. as planned.  

Thatcher High School

For Thatcher, students will be allowed up to four guests to witness graduates walk across the stage in their caps and gowns on their assigned day of either Tuesday, May 19, or Wednesday, May 20, from 2:30 – 7:30 p.m. Each student will be videotaped as they walk across the stage.

Afterward, pictures will be taken in the gymnasium. Prior to leaving, the graduates will be given a “swag bag” with yearbooks, awards, and other items, according to a post on the school’s Facebook page.

A slide show, pre-taped musical numbers, speeches and more will be broadcast Friday, May 22, for a virtual graduation.  

The school will also have a car parade Friday, May 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. The parade will start in the parking lot of Thatcher High School.

Safford High School

For Safford, students have been walking across the stage in graduation regalia from Tuesday, May 12 and will continue through Tuesday, May 19, from 8 – 10 p.m. A total of four family members have been allowed to be on hand for the event.

The entire process is being filmed and for a virtual graduation ceremony video that will be released when complete.

On Thursday, May 21, graduates are instructed to park in the high school parking lot by 6:30 p.m. to take part in a vehicle parade. Students will also report to designated tables in the parking lot of the football field area to pick up their diplomas and graduation materials. At dusk, graduation fireworks will commence.

The Gila Herald congratulates the Class of 2020.