Class of 2020 to walk the stage at Centennial Field graduation in June

Published 1:27 pm Friday, May 29, 2020

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The Decatur County Board of Education announced Thursday they will be holding a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Saturday, June 13 at Centennial Field.

Superintendent Tim Cochran wanted to give graduates an in-person ceremony, but knew under the current COVID-19 guidelines social distancing could not be adequately practiced in the gym. Therefore, he decided to return to an old Bearcat tradition and host the graduation ceremony on the football field.

The graduation will be held at 9 a.m. in hopes of avoiding all afternoon showers. All students will be given five tickets for their family and friends, who will then be seated in the home and visitor bleachers so social distancing can be practiced.

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No student is required to attend the ceremony, as Cochran realizes some people are still uncomfortable in large groups. However, students will be socially distanced on the field and no one except graduates and personnel will be allowed on the field.

The ceremony will be as traditional as allowed. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian will still give their speech, but only one person will be handling diplomas instead of multiple faculty members. There will also be no handshaking.

Cochran said he has received good feedback about this ceremony so far and he is looking forward to giving the seniors a ceremony they’ve worked hard for.

In order to get into the ceremony, there will only be three access points. Cochran said guests can enter through the new field entrance on Louise Street, the back gate on the home side of the bleachers and the back gate on the visitor side of the bleachers.

The side entrance will be shutdown to allow for the social distancing of graduates before they enter onto the field.

Tickets will be sent to seniors in the coming days, along with information about graduation practice.