Graduations set for the Class of 2021; local schools share details

BY OLIVIA MOHR AND ROBIN HART

It appears that life is slowly returning to normal, including the graduation ceremonies at the county’s schools. Boyle County Schools, Danville Christian Academy, Danville Independent Schools, and Kentucky School for the Deaf shared how their graduation ceremonies would be held this year and how preparation was happening.

Danville High School

• Friday, May 21 at 7 p.m., Danville High School football stadium

Unlike last year’s graduation, the class of 140 seniors will sit together during the event and walk across the stage when their name is called to receive their diploma. Seniors must be at the stadium by 6 p.m.

Each senior was allowed a total of eight tickets to share with family and friends who wanted to attend the ceremony, according to Principal Thad Elmore.

Families can sit together, but each family will be required to sit at least six feet and one row apart from other families. Masks will be highly recommended, Elmore said.

The DHS Choir will be performing the Alma Mater Hymn with lyrics written in 1970 by then senior Alan Jacobus which is set to the tune of the Navy Hymn, Elmore said. “This is the first time in a long time and the first time ever, in it’s updated state the Alma Mater Hymn has been performed.”

Speakers will be Faith Breitenbach, Keeley McKnight, Ashley Rankin, and Madison Terrell.

Following the ceremony, the traditional Project Graduation will be held from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the school. Students must enter the building by 11 p.m.

Danville Christian Academy

• Saturday, May 22 at 4 p.m., the school gymnasium

Danville Christian Academy will begin with a dinner and then have their graduation ceremony.

It will be similar to last year’s ceremony, where the school was able to give graduating seniors a proper ceremony and send-off last July, said DCA’s Director of Admissions/School Administration Manager Casey Wilson.

Unlike previous years before the pandemic, the 2021 ceremony will take place in the school gymnasium instead of in a church.

Graduates will practice graduation on Friday, May 21, the day before the ceremony.

Kentucky School for the Deaf

• Wednesday, May 26 at 2 p.m. outdoors in front of Thompson Gymnasium

Just like last year’s graduation ceremony, the 11 graduates of the KSD Class of 2021 will be seated outdoors in front of the gym building, while their families and friends watch from their vehicles in the parking lot facing the gym.

Byron Wilson, a teacher at KSD elementary school will be the guest speaker. Also on hand will be Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Jason Glass, and Chair of the Kentucky Department of Education Lu Young.

Boyle County Schools

Update as of May 28: Boyle County High School’s graduation has been rescheduled to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 30 due to weather forecasts. It will be outdoors at the athletic complex

According to information in an email compiled by Creative Director for Boyle County Schools Amy Bugg and Boyle County High School Principal Mark Wade, at the BCHS graduation masks will be required, and each graduate received four guest tickets to give to family members. This will put the event at maximum capacity allowed by current guidelines, Bugg said.

There are 189 students on the class of 2021 list.

Students requested an in-person graduation ceremony, but unlike years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will happen outdoors and with less capacity. Luckily this year will see a “typical” ceremony.

For 2020, the district had a graduation parade. There were individual celebrations through scheduled time slots last year, as well as family photos and other events to help with the students’ experience of graduation despite the pandemic.

Students will practice the 2021 ceremony next week, and many people have been involved in the programming, including Damian Laymon, the graduation/senior coordinator. Wade said he looks forward “to the final celebration for the class of 2021.”