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Lee County School District clarifies graduation plans for seniors

Posted at 7:17 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 19:17:02-04

LEE COUNTY, FL. — Graduating seniors in Lee county have learned graduations in May are canceled.

On Wednesday, the School District of Lee County sent a letter to students and parents informing them virtual graduations will take place in early June, and more traditional ceremonies will take place in July.

This news, disappointing some students and sparking petitions online calling for postponed graduations until traditional ceremonies can take place.

But the school district assures it is planning two different graduation ceremonies.

Like many seniors, Sidney Hall always dreamed of walking across the stage at her graduation and making her parents proud.

"I pictured that I would get together with all my friends, all of my teachers that I have had for three years in the IV program, I would see the class speakers that we voted on," said Sydney Hall.

Hall is a senior at Fort Myers High School and the chairman of the student board advisory committee.

"My mom graduated from Fort Myers High School in '92, my grandfather graduated in '69, and all my great-aunts and uncles have gone and graduated from Fort Myers High," said Hall.

The news of having virtual graduations has led seniors, like Hall, to worry that without a concrete plan in place, the district might back out of having traditional ceremonies in July.

"The thing with the virtual and what I know a lot of people are scared of is if we were really going to have a physical graduation, why would we need a virtual graduation in the first place," said Hall.

Although it might not be what students originally envisioned for their graduations, the district says it's to make sure all students get recognized.

"As things open up, students may go directly to the military, directly to the workforce, they may be heading off to college," said Rob Spicker.
Spicker is the Assistant Director of Media Relations for the School District of Lee County.

"In July, as soon as we have the clearance from the CDC to do so, we will have a more traditional looking graduation ceremony, we're trying to secure the venues for that now," said Spicker.

Until that happens, Hall remains hopeful she will get to celebrate her 12-year-milestone with her classmates before starting the next chapter of their lives.

"It's really, really hard to get the same sentiments across virtually that you would in a in-person graduation, and you don't even have that classic walking across the stage," said Hall.

The School District of Lee County says there are still working out the details on what the virtual ceremonies will look like.