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Local school districts to hold in-person graduation ceremonies

Following new guidelines as laid out by the Texas Education Agency, Sharyland ISD, Mission CISD and La Joya ISD announced this past week that they will be holding in person graduation ceremonies for high school seniors.

The guidelines were laid out as part Governor Greg Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas. Under the guidelines, an outdoor graduation ceremony can occur between May 15 and May 31 for rural areas and for other areas on or after June 1.

Graduates from the Sharyland High School class of 2019 at their commencement ceremony Sunday, June 2, 2019. Progress Times photo by Jose De Leon III

The La Joya school district will be the first school district in western Hidalgo County to host outdoor graduation ceremonies as the district announced Monday they will be hosting commencement ceremonies at the end of the month.

All La Joya ISD graduation ceremonies will be held at the La Joya ISD Stadium and will be livestreamed on the school district’s Facebook pages.

The ceremonies will kick off with La Joya High School’s commencement on Friday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. Jimmy Carter Early College High School and Palmview High School will have their ceremonies the following day at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

The ceremonies will conclude as Thelma R. Salinas STEM Early College High School and Juarez Lincoln High Schools bids adieu to their graduating seniors Sunday, May 31 at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

To comply with health safety standards, each senior will be awarded four tickets for guests as the district will be adhering to recommended health protocols and social distancing guidelines for everyone’s safety, the district announced.

 “Graduation ceremonies mark a major milestone for students and their families. All educators are committed first and foremost to ensuring the health and safety of our students, families, and staff,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a news release. “By taking the necessary precautions developed by medical experts, we can ensure we appropriately honor our Class of 2020 graduates while keeping everyone safe.”

Sharyland ISD will hold graduation ceremonies in mid-June with commencement ceremonies on Thursday, June 11, Friday June 12 and Saturday June 13 for Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy, Sharyland Pioneer High School and Sharyland High School, respectively.

All commencement ceremonies will be held at the Richard Thompson Stadium at 8 p.m., the district said.

“This is an important milestone and there is no doubt the Graduates of 2020 will have a unique and memorable story to tell about this significant time in your life. We are committed to making this commencement unforgettable for the Class of 2020,” district Superintendent Maria M. Vidaurri said in a letter addressed to seniors. “We realize that as graduates you have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. You have faced a challenge that none of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. Most importantly, you have shown us adults that it is not the situation that defines us, it is how you respond to it.”

Mission CISD announced in a Thursday news release they will also be holding in person graduation ceremonies at the end of the month at the Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium.

Mission Collegiate High School commencement ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 29 at 8:30 a.m. Mission High School commencement ceremonies will be held that same day at 8:00 p.m. and Veterans Memorial High School commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 30 at 8:00 p.m.

Limited seating, proper social distancing, before, during, and after the ceremonies, and proper wearing of face coverings will be enforced, the district said.

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