Year-end senior events affected by coronavirus

Graduation will be held on May 23 at 10:00 a.m. at Texas Motor Speedway. The ceremony will be projected on the video screen for families to view from their cars.

Due to the school closure, students were unable to return back to school after spring break. As a result, seniors could not participate in traditions such as dress up days, senior skip day, prom or a typical graduation. 

“I was looking forward to so much with senior year,” senior Ally Horn said. There’s powder puffs, senior pinning ceremony, graduation, prom and so many things that would commemorate the end of our senior year. It’s just shocking and kind of upsetting how my last days were the week before spring break, and I took it for granted. Now that it’s gone, I wish I could relive those moments.”

According to Principal Amy Boughton, the administration hopes to return a sense of normalcy to students’ lives by giving them a chance to be recognized for their hard work through a physical graduation where parents can attend. 

“I think back to my senior year when I was an LISD graduate, and my senior prom and graduation meant the absolute world to me,” Boughton said. “This is my first year as the head principal of Hebron, so this has been very hard because I was ready to come back from spring break and do some of these events that would draw us closer together. I want to make whatever we can do as special as possible with the protocols that we have in place. I want seniors to know that I truly care. I’m 100% invested, and I’m walking the path with them.

Each family will receive two car tags, one for the graduate and another for the family. The ceremony will be projected onto the 12-story tall, 218-foot wide video board, where parents will view it from the spectator lot. Spectators are not allowed to exit their vehicles or tailgate; however, people watching from trucks can sit in the bed of the vehicle.  

“A lot of thought has been put into graduation,” Boughton said. “We originally scheduled a June date and a back-up July date, but we didn’t know [what] the state of the virus [would be] once the state started opening back up, and there is concern that there will be a second wave. [Superintendent] Dr. [Kevin] Rogers and the leadership team began investigating what we could do to make this as normal as possible and allow families to be there to watch their graduates get across the stage, and Texas Motor Speedway presented itself. I think that’s going to be the one opportunity that gets us all together with your families there.” 

In order to follow the  procedures put in place by Texas Motor Speedway and the Denton County Health Department, graduates will be issued a mask with the school colors displayed and are required to wear it throughout the ceremony. Graduates will be allowed to remove their mask to receive their diploma and take pictures. 

“I’m really glad that we are still able to do an in-person graduation, and I’m really thankful that Ms. Boughton and the Superintendent worked really hard to make sure we had some kind of ceremony,” Horn said. “I’m glad it’s happening.”

Another salvaged event is the tradition of seniors visiting their former elementary and middle schools before graduation. This opportunity allows students to reconnect with their feeder school teachers and thank them for their guidance. 

“On May 19 at 3 [p.m.], all the feeder schools are going to have the teachers out on their campuses for students to drive by and still try and have the sense of trying to connect with them before going off to college or whatever your next plan is,” Boughton said.

On May 18, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 19, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., seniors picked up their parking passes and graduation programs. Students also turned in iPads, textbooks and library books to ensure all fines are taken care of. 

“I think the administration has done a great job, and no one expected this, so I know they are doing the best they can, and that’s all you can really ask for,” Horn said. “They found a place to have graduation, but with prom, I’m hoping they will try to see about relocating it because the reason we can’t have it is because the Perot [Museum can not host large groups.]”