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Change in commencement ceremony plans

Superintendent Cory McIntyre recently informed families of graduating seniors that the University of Minnesota has canceled all June 2020 events at Mariucci Arena, including commencement ceremonies for all District 279 high schools. District leaders are now identifying alternate plans that are workable for all of our high schools. Read his message to families:

Dear families and members of the Class of 2020:

The senior year is truly a momentous year for students and the staff, K-12, who have nurtured and cared for them throughout their school career. Students, we have watched you take your first steps into our classrooms, find your path through academic and extracurricular opportunities at school, develop supportive relationships with caring adults, and work hard to pursue your dreams. We are proud of each and every one of you, and that is why every year we take great joy in sending you into the world with proper recognition.

We know senior all-night parties, banquets, proms and other celebrations create memories that last a lifetime. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those celebrations will look different—if they’re held at all—for the Class of 2020. We received news yesterday that affects, undoubtedly, the most important celebration: the commencement ceremony. The University of Minnesota has canceled all June 2020 events at Mariucci Arena, which means we will not be able to hold commencement ceremonies as previously planned.

This is surely not how you envisioned your senior year, and I want you to know that teachers and staff across the school district share your disappointment.

However, I want to assure you that district and school leaders are looking at other options that will provide meaningful recognition to our graduating seniors. It will take some time to sort things out and identify the best options, and we’re already working on it. In the meantime, we know you’ll have many questions about access to caps and gowns, awarding of diplomas, and other graduation or senior year-related topics, and we ask you to be patient while we’re working on alternate plans. As soon as we have more information to share with you, we’ll let you know.

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we identify other ways to honor the Class of 2020. You are truly a special class, and this life-changing experience will make you stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Respectfully,

Cory McIntyre
Superintendent