Graduation 2021: In-person but constricted
May 20, 2021
The Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) has recently approved in-person graduation ceremonies for graduating seniors. These ceremonies will be slightly different from typical years as Riverside County is still in the orange or moderate tier of California’s COVID-19 restrictions.
The John W. North graduation will be held on the football field as in normal years. Graduations will be held at every high school in two ceremonies. At John W. North graduates of last names A through K will have their graduation at four o’clock after the underclassmen finish their school day. Graduates with last names later in the alphabet will have their ceremony at eight o’clock. Between ceremonies, there will be thorough disinfection for around two hours of the stadium and graduation area.
Each graduate will be allowed to have five tickets which are intended to be only for immediate family members who preferably live in the same household. Unlike typical graduations family members will have to all sit together in pre-assigned areas. Families will be sat in order from back to front and left to right in order to be able to prevent people walking past others. This specific order also keeps a record for contact tracing in case a COVID-19 outbreak occurs.
The ceremonies will last for around an hour, which is a lot shorter than previous years. RUSD is not allowing bands to perform at graduation due to the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines where band members would need to be 12 feet apart while performing. Choir will be performing the Alma Mater and The Star Spangled Banner at both ceremonies. Speeches will include the valedictorian Avery Hansberger, the three salutatorians (Brendon Fezzey, Idara Ibekwe and Angela Ogbogu), along with the class president Evelyn Martinez-Carvajal and the student body president Alexander Horsepool. Along with these students school board member Dale Kinnear as well as other faculty are expected to speak.
“I am excited that we’re having a in-person graduation ceremony to cherish the last moments with my friends and family before heading to college. To be honest, I am a little nervous to do a speech, but am delighted to have the opportunity to make my final remarks/congratulations to my classmates.” said Ogbogu.