Canyons District’s Class of 2021 will celebrate their graduation from high school with some well-deserved pomp amid unusual circumstances.
CSD’s high schools have brainstormed solutions for a safe and proper send-off for graduates this pandemic year, in keeping with state health restrictions and school community wishes. Each school’s graduation plans were crafted in consultation with students and parents, including PTA and School Community Council leaders.
The plans include drive-thru graduation ceremonies, parades, neighborhoods decked out with signs, balloons and decorations, modified stage walks, music, speeches, livestreams and video recordings, and school-themed gifts, among other festivities.
As described during the Canyons Board of Education meeting on Feb. 2, 2021, here are some of the details for this spring’s proposed graduation rites:
Wednesday, May 26, 10 a.m.
A formal virtual commencement will allow seniors to wear caps and gowns, walk across the stage at safe distances and get a photo taken — and an elbow bump — from Alta principal Dr. Brian McGill. Parents will be invited to visit the school for photos. Graduation speeches and the stage walk will be the highlights of an edited digital production, which will be accessible via YouTube. The Hawks will also replicate the community drive-thru celebration they did on Graduation Day last year. The Alta community will be invited to line the streets of 11400 South and 1000 East to cheer seniors with signs, balloons and other decorations. Students will proceed through an “S” curve celebratory drive through the west student lot. Parents, guardians, grandparents and siblings are invited to drive with their students, who will have opportunities to stop along the way to take photos with a 2021 banner, the school logo, the Block A, and a final visit on a stage with Dr. McGill.
Wednesday, May 26, 9 a.m.
Similar to 2020, students and parents will be escorted down 2700 East from a staging area at Butler Elementary for a short, car parade through festively-decorated neighborhoods en route to the venue. The graduation stage will be set up on the Brighton High soccer fields behind Butler Middle School. Students will exit vehicles, cross the stage, receive diploma covers and get a photo taken in front of a special backdrop. Families will also have opportunities to snap photos. After students return to their vehicles, where guests have remained, they’ll proceed to returning their gowns and receive actual diplomas at Brighton High. The event will be live-streamed, recorded and made available at no charge on the school’s website. The school plans on providing custom masks, yard signs and T-shirts for grads, with the hope that costs will be offset through donations and advertising.
Corner Canyon High
Wednesday, May 26, 9 a.m.
Charger seniors will sign up for specified time windows to participate in their drive-through graduation and parade-type celebration. Vehicles, limited to one per student, will receive a name card and graduation program upon checking in at Willow Springs Elementary School. The community drive will proceed through the parking lots near the tennis courts and eventually through the horseshoe driveway in front of Corner Canyon High. Students will exit and proceed along the sidewalk to a stage in front of the school while their vehicles drive through the driveway at the same pace. Students’ names will be read and diploma covers distributed as part of a stage walk. Loved ones will be able to take photos from their vehicle. After that special moment, seniors will enter the Performing Arts Hallway, turn in their gowns, receive their diplomas and then exit to meet up with their vehicles in the north parking lot. The drive-thru recognition will be live-streamed. A commemorative video featuring the seniors receiving their diploma cover along with music, and speeches by the principal, student body president, senior class president, and school board representatives will be created and distributed. Corner Canyon staff and the Draper Police Department will oversee crowd control, proper social-distancing and a smooth flow.
Wednesday, May 26, 9 a.m.
Seniors will get one last chance to walk through what Hillcrest principal Greg Leavitt describes as a “grand old building” in a graduation march through the old auditorium, which will be demolished in mid-June 2021 to make way for the new home of the Huskies. With COVID protocols in mind, students will be assigned times to walk across the Hillcrest stage with 4-5 family members to receive their diploma cover. Faculty members will be stationed throughout the school to usher seniors and their families as they proceed in an orderly and socially distanced manner during the walkthrough. Designated spots will be assigned for photos. Students will then turn in their caps and gowns and receive their actual diplomas before heading out of their beloved school one last time. Seniors will also be celebrated with yard signs. Links will be provided so family members and friends can watch the live ceremony from afar. The festivities will include graduation speeches, music and traditional rites before the grad walk.
Wednesday, May 26, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 27, 6:30 p.m.
After doing a drive-thru ceremony last spring, Jordan is opting to hold two traditional graduation ceremonies on their football field over two days, Wednesday, May 26, and Thursday, May 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Each ceremony will honor 215 graduates. Students will be given a chance to select their preferred night so they can graduate with friends. Members of the Class of 2021 will be seated on the football field, with a stage set up in the end zone with the school in the background. The seniors will do a traditional walk, receive diploma covers and then turn in gowns and receive diplomas in one of the large gyms. Seniors and parents chose to split the commencement exercises into two nights to allow each student to have four guests instead of just two. Additional bleachers will be brought in to ensure social distancing. The live-streamed ceremony will feature speeches by students and principal Wendy Dau, and the accepting of graduates from the District and school board. Depending on Board of Health requirements, administrators hope to throw a Senior Celebration for the ’21 seniors on Friday, May 28. The evening would include a dinner, dance and fireworks, which would be held in line with current state health protocols, which require COVID testing for participants.
Diamond Ridge High
Thursday, May 27, 9 a.m.
Approximately 50 students are expected to participate in a “drive-in” style graduation ceremony similar to the event held for the Class of 2020. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., vehicles (one per senior) will be directed to parking places adjacent the stage in the west parking lot of the Diamond Ridge campus. The commencement exercises will include the Pledge of Allegiance, an introduction of honored guests, student and dignitary speeches, and the presentation and acceptance of the graduating class. The ceremony will be broadcast to car radios and can be heard via speakers on the stage and parking lot. Once speeches have concluded, each vehicle will be directed one at a time to drive up near the stage. The car will pull up near the front of the stage, allowing seniors easy access to exit for a stage walk, snap pictures and receive their diploma cover. Stations will be set up for seniors to take photos, drop off their cap and gown, and to receive their diploma and a graduation gift, a Diamond Ridge lap blanket. Seniors will then get back in their vehicles and exit the campus. In case of inclement weather, a tent covering would be used to protect participants and grads on stage.
Jordan Valley School
Friday, May 21, 10 a.m.
Jordan Valley plans on taking good care of its three graduates with a ceremony at a location to be determined. The seven graduates from the Class of 2020, who voted to postpone their ceremony due to COVID-19, will also be invited to attend with their families. Grads and guests will be spread out in the auditorium, and seniors will receive their Certificate of Completion on stage. Speakers will include Principal Stacey Nofsinger, Director of Special Ed Misty Suarez, a school board member and perhaps another District dignitary.
Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m.
Preliminary plans are for Entrada’s adult graduates to participate in a “drive-in” style graduation ceremony similar to the event being held by Diamond Ridge High. More details are forthcoming.