Message To Seniors From Our Principal

A Message to the Class of 2020 From Our Principal
Posted on 04/16/2020
Hello Class of 2020 Seniors and Families,

I wanted to follow up with you regarding the formal decision made by the District to host virtual graduation ceremonies in May. It is important to reiterate that in this current state of uncertainty; this was the most certain way to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 Seniors right now. While a traditional graduation ceremony is everyone’s first choice, social gathering restrictions do not allow for an event like that at the moment. I know that this harsh reality comes as a terrible disappointment and is a brutal reminder of how much is out of our control during this global pandemic.

As your Principal and a Class of 2020 parent myself, I am riding this roller coaster of emotions with you. One moment I am tearfully disappointed, and the next I am overwhelmed with anger at this awful situation. I feel scared at times for the safety of my family and friends, then frustrated by this confining lock down. Just know that all of what you are feeling is real and it's important to us that you understand your emotions are felt by others and we empathize with you.

Please note in the letter from Dr. Fennoy, he referenced the possibility of schools planning recognition events in the summer if the timeline of restrictions permits. You have my word that Suncoast will make every effort to coordinate a celebration for the Class of 2020 students as soon as CDC guidelines and the School District will allow large gatherings, and I am very open to working with Class Officers, our Student Government, Senior Class Sponsors, our PTSA, the School Advisory Council, etc. to gather ideas and plan this special event. Furthermore, each December we hold an IB Diploma ceremony that is well attended. The graduates love coming back to celebrate their accomplishment and look forward to reconnecting with each other and sharing their freshman year/university experiences. That being said, if we needed to consider a Class of 2020 event in the fall months because COVID-19 circumstances continue beyond the summer, please know that we are not opposed to doing so.

At this point, I am sure you have many questions, and I will do my very best to answer the ones that I can now.

What will a virtual ceremony look like?
The ceremony will have recorded speeches from the Superintendent, a few select students (i.e. Valedictorian, etc.) and me. Names of all graduates will be read while pictures of each senior are displayed on the screen. Yearbook photos will be used.

What about our caps and gowns that were ordered?
If you purchased a cap and gown, it will be mailed to you. In the past, we have used rental gowns which had to be returned after the ceremony. This year, you will be able to keep your cap, gown, and tassel. We are also working on providing cords, stoles, etc. as we know these hard-earned mementos of recognition are especially important.

When will this take place?
Once the District has finalized the schedule, it will be shared with all. I am anticipating late May since our original date was one of the last.

I know the decision of a virtual ceremony was not the news you wanted to hear, but please try to focus on the truly important part of graduation, that you not only successfully completed high school and earned your diploma, you did it at one of the most academically challenging high schools in the nation. It’s true, “The Rigor is Real”! You have so much to be proud of, and I am in constant amazement of your dedication, integrity, and perseverance. All of which will shine through now more than ever. You are ready for the next step in your lives and more than prepared for whatever comes your way. You will be the class that your children read about in history books as these unprecedented times are beyond belief. Know in your heart, your families, teachers, and I are immensely proud of your accomplishment and nothing, not even the coronavirus can take that away from you.

With a heavy heart,
Mrs. Koerner, #Classof2020Strong
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