Grace Church will be filled with the sound of musicians and speakers. It might seem like other recent graduation ceremonies for Chanhassen and Chaska high schools.
Except, it won’t be filled with families. It won’t be filled with the Class of 2020 graduates.
Based on guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education, Office of Higher Education and Minnesota Department of Health, the top recommendation is for schools to hold a ceremony that can be conducted remotely and ensure attendees do not need to leave their homes, such as a virtual ceremony.
Though District 112 officials still are holding out hope for July 25 football stadium in-person ceremonies, they understand some graduates are heading off to the service, the workforce, or other destinations over the summer. District leaders felt it is important that the Class of 2020 gets a celebration in June.
The virtual ceremony will follow as closely as possible to the traditional graduation ceremony. Principal messages from Dick Ungar from Chanhassen and James Bach from Chaska will be followed by staff and student representatives that were pre-recorded.
All seniors were asked to snap a photo of themselves in their cap and gown and submit to their respective school to include in the virtual ceremony. Online links for viewing will be sent to families for a 4 p.m. Friday, June 5 ceremony for Chaska and Chanhassen.
The events will made public through social media posts and the district website later on.
Integrated Arts Academy will also host a virtual graduation ceremony on June 4.
Should the state’s guidance on in-person/outdoor ceremonies change, every attempt will be made to honor the Class of 2020 later this summer or early fall. The district continues to reserve both stadiums on July 25 for such a celebration.
Celi Haga, director of Communications and Community Relations for Eastern Carver County Schools, said each high school is planning on having a “reverse” parade to allow teachers and staff the opportunity to cheer on and celebrate graduating seniors.
The district asks that only staff members and senior families attend to adhere to social distancing restrictions.
Scheduled events are 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 4 in the west student parking lot for Chaska High School seniors; and 7 p.m. Friday, June 5 in the upper parking lot through the athletic wing for Chanhassen High School seniors.
Dick Ungar, principal at Chanhassen High School, said the city of Chanhassen has plans to be a part of the high school reverse parade celebration.
As a part of #ChaskaCares, the city of Chaska is teaming up with Chaska High School to celebrate the 2020 high school graduates on Friday, June 5.
The “Hail to the Hawks” celebration is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. The Chaska community is encouraged to head outside at that time and make some noise for the Class of 2020. A parade of a fire truck, a school bus, the Hawk mascot, and a police squad car will head into the community to recognize the high school graduates.
As the parade comes through neighborhoods, residents are encouraged to step outside to cheer along. To continue protecting the health and safety of Chaska residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are asked to practice social distancing and not gather in groups.
“We wanted to do something special to recognize our high school seniors and their accomplishments,” said Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl. “We wanted to show them that our community cares.”
The city will publish the parade route in advance on www.chaskamn.com. During the parade, the city will provide live updates on the city of Chaska Communications Facebook Page. The city will also air the Chaska High School virtual graduation program on Comcast channel 14 at 4 p.m. Friday, June 5.