Culver plans traditional June 5 outdoor graduation ceremony
Culver High School seniors will graduate during an in-person ceremony Saturday, June 5 at the Culver outdoor athletic complex.
"We're trying real hard to meet all of the accommodations and requirements and also honor and support our senior class who really, really wants to graduate as a class with some members of their families," said Culver's activities director Betty Nitschelm.
Commencement will begin at noon and will honor the 50 graduates. Each graduate will be allowed to have four guests attend the ceremony.
"We're moving forward with the idea that we're going to be able to do the outdoor graduation, which is kind of unique – we've never done an outdoor graduation before," Nitschelm said. "This will be a first effort at an outdoor graduation with lots of guidelines to be following."
Nitschelm encourages the four guests to arrive on school campus in the same vehicle on graduation day. They will then be escorted from the parking lot to their assigned pod of four chairs that will be set up on the field. She said all of the COVID safety measures will be followed.
"We'll have a photographer there to take pictures of each graduate receiving their diploma," Nitschelm said. "People will not be able to come forward. Once they're in their pod, they're in their pod."
The ceremony will be livestreamed and recorded.
Two other Jefferson County high schools will hold graduation ceremonies Saturday, June 5. The Jefferson County School District 509-J Bridges High School commencement begins at 9 a.m. at the Madras High School football stadium. The Madras High School ceremony follows at 11:30 a.m.
Should pandemic restrictions tighten, Nitschelm said Culver School District would go to plan B, which would be similar to the 2020 graduation ceremony. Last year, commencement was held in the gymnasium, but staff escorted graduates and their families into the gym one at a time as their names were announced. Students received their diplomas and then exited with their guests. Teachers congratulated them as they departed, all while physically distanced.
"We're really hoping that if things loosen up a bit, then we can allow more people, but we won't know that until it's practically upon us," Nitschelm said. "We're planning right now for four guests and 50 graduates outside in the complex."
She noted that school leaders had talked to the senior class, and they wanted to graduate together in-person as a class.
"We felt that we really needed to honor our seniors," Nitschelm said. "We're excited to try this, and we're hopeful that it will all go well and that we have good cooperation and participation. We're moving forward and looking to have a great graduation on the fifth of June."
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