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Preston High seniors asked to weigh in on graduation options

KINGWOOD — Preston High seniors and their parents have until Wednesday to weigh in on which of six options they prefer in lieu of a traditional graduation ceremony.

The options are presented by the Preston High graduation committee in a video on the Preston County Schools Facebook page. There are links for separate surveys for parents and seniors. Surveys were also sent to seniors.

Six options are under consideration, and it won’t be known until the method is selected on which date or dates graduation will be held, but it will be prior to June 30. Some options would require more than one day to do, Superintendent Steve Wotring said.

Option one would be to hold the ceremony on Knight’s Field. Graduates would maintain social distancing, and each senior could bring only two guests. Wotring said the staff measured the bleachers to ensure that social distancing could be maintained between guests.

Everyone would wear masks. Guests would not be allowed onto the field, and seniors could not gather in a large group after the ceremony.

Option two is a drive-in graduation. The entire class would drive to one location, with one graduate per car and as many guests as he or she wanted. Graduates would come to the front and receive their diplomas one at a time. Everyone else would stay in the cars.

Option three would allow each grad to come into the school gym with guests at an appointed time to receive a diploma.

Option four is also a drive-in graduation, but with small groups of seniors coming at a time, so that family and friends can get out of the car for the ceremony.

Option five is totally virtual, with seniors coming in individually, at an appointed time, to receive their diploma.

The final option is to mail diplomas to seniors.

For most options, a photographer and videographer will be there to record each student receiving a diploma, and a DVD will be created for the whole class.

There will also be live streaming of ceremonies.

The short turn around time on the surveys was necessitated by the state, Wotring said. Once the county has selected a method, it must be approved by the State Board of Education and the local board.

“Granted there is no good option, given what these kids are going to miss,” Wotring said. Board Member Pam Feathers said she thought staff came up with good options, given the limitations they had to work within.

A “zero year reunion” is being discussed for the Class of 2020 sometime this fall, when social distancing guidelines have been lifted, Wotring said.

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