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East County schools will repeat 2020's altered graduations with some tweaks for class of 2021

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Centennial HIgh School held a socially-distanced outdoor graduation for 2020 graduates. Commencment for the class of 2021 will be similar.

East County high schools are planning another round of last year's radically-altered commencement ceremonies as the class of 2021 becomes the second class to graduate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corbett's senior Cardinals will fly out of the nest on Sunday, May 30. Like last year, the district is planning a huge outdoor celebration for its grads, culminating in a fireworks display.

Graduates will have a celebratory car parade to the high school, starting around 6:30 p.m. and the ceremony will start at 7:30 p.m. There will be the traditional speeches, scholarship announcements and a senior slide show all projected on huge inflatable screens. The extravaganza will end with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Centennial High School's graduation is set for Thursday, June 10. The ceremony will be about the same as last year, when the district marked the special day with an outdoor ceremony at the Eagles football stadium.

To keep things safe, graduating Eagles and their families had timed entries running for a good chunk of the day. They parked and a limited number of folks from proud families took to the field as their graduates crossed a decorated stage built on the track. Grads walked across the stage when their names were called, to a recorded loop playing the traditional Pomp and Circumstance.

The Gresham-Barlow School District is changing things up for its high schools this year.

This year, all three high schools will have commencements at their athletic stadiums, replacing the drive-thru affairs they had last year. Springwater Trail will borrow Barlow's stadium for their event.

The Barlow Bruins will get their sheepskins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 15. Springwater Trail graduates will mark the milestone at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 16. Gresham High will send off the graduating Gophers at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17.

To make things pandemically proper, the number of folks allowed at the ceremonies will be limited. Students will graduate in small groups with each cohort getting a short ceremony.

"We have cameras installed on our football fields and we plan to livestream the ceremonies so family members who are not able to attend the ceremonies in person can instead watch by video," said Athena Vadnais, director of communications and community relations.

Reynolds High School plans to repeat last year's ceremony. The proud graduates will be honored Thursday June 17.

Graduating Raiders will be assigned times to attend one of four graduation stations in the high school. Students will get their diplomas and will be able to take photos in front of a back drop.

Last year, upbeat rock music played for the graduating Raiders. They each also received a rose to give to a person that inspired them to make it through to the milestone.

Reynolds is planning the traditional all night party for graduates. It will be held at Bullwinkle's in Wilsonville.

Mt. Hood Community College is holding "a modified commencement opportunity" on Saturday, June 12.

The state's largest school district, Portland Public Schools recently annouced it would hold its graduation ceremonies at Portland's Providence Park, which would allow all of a school's grads and their families to come together with enough room to socially-distance outdoors.


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