UPDATE: Prom Delayed, but Graduation Will Happen

With the state stay-at-home order extended, some important senior events are changing


Ella Berrend

Seniors at Frederick High School wonder how COVID-19 will affect the rest of their memories for the year, but words from the principal make their graduation seem possible.

Ella Berrend, Head Editor

The current national shutdown due to the COVID-19 has closed businesses and schools as well as canceling all group gatherings which has affected the public in multitudes of ways. This shutdown, which yesterday was extended to April 30, has hit Frederick High’s senior class particularly hard, as their final year of high school has been put on hold with few answers on how they will continue when this pandemic begins to fade. We do know two things for sure: Prom will be postponed until May and we will get a graduation.

This news has been a relief to many seniors. “Having prom and graduation is like a right of passage,” said senior Grace Thiebeau. “You’ve worked for thirteen years to be able to participate in these activities that honor you.” During the Spring, seniors have seen other traditions that they’ve been looking forward to since Kindergarten disappear: last concerts, the ‘senior walk’ through the district’s elementary and middle schools, a final spring sports season, and more. “It’s just crazy that a random Thursday in March could’ve been my last day at high school,” said Grace.

Frederick High’s staff has been meeting frequently to develop lessons for the school closure (which launched this week), as well as game plans for how the school may be able to honor the seniors in the midst of the pandemic. Mr. Young’s consideration for this year’s graduating class has been strong–he has worked with the SVVSD superintendent Dr. Don Haddad to ensure seniors still have a great last year.

“We know this is a hard time, especially for our seniors who are not able to participate in many of the school activities that make their senior year special,” said Mr. Young in a school-wide email. “One of those activities is Prom, which was scheduled for April 18th. At this time, we are postponing our prom.”

Prom was originally scheduled for April 18 for Frederick, but a new date has not been announced. As far as location, Mr. Young told us the new location would be based on the availability of venues after things begin to open back up. The hardest part about choosing a new venue is getting the venue booked, as many ballrooms, country clubs, and other spaces that typically book proms are not accepting reservations until they know when the statewide shelter in place orders will be lifted.

While the postponement of prom has relieved some seniors, others are more cautious in their outlook. “I think it’s wishful thinking that we’ll be back in school by May,” said senior Jade Cochran. “Based on how other areas have been dealing with the spread of the virus and [the district] canceling every school-related activity with no remorse makes me skeptical if we’ll even have a prom.” If school does not resume sessions in the month of May, it seems up in the air if prom will be pushed even further into the year or canceled altogether.

“It would be really devastating if the seniors didn’t have a prom to commemorate their last year– I already bought my dress,” Jade laughed. “I guess I could wear it around the house. But I wouldn’t doubt that the senior class would try and throw a dance themselves when the hysteria dies down.”

Although prom is one of the moments a senior looks forward to the most, the thought of not having graduation seems to minimize the 13 years worth of work done to get your diploma. Fortunately, Mr. Young made it clear that graduation will happen. The question is when.

“I know many seniors are also worried about graduation, which is still scheduled for Saturday, May 23rd at 10:00 am. At this time, we have not made any decisions in regards to graduation and, like many other things, we will follow the state health recommendations,” Mr. Young told us. Any postponement to graduation won’t occur until the end of this month or early May, and any movement on graduation entirely depends on whether or not schools are still closed in the district in May.

“Much like prom, we are going to do everything we can to host a traditional graduation ceremony either on our scheduled date or later in the summer when it is safe to have larger groups of people together,” Mr. Young told us. “If we have to adjust our date, Jostens [our school provider of graduation materials] has promised to provide free graduation announcement inserts to every family if needed.” Jostens representative Dana Weiss has also assured that seniors will receive their yearbooks, caps, and gowns at some point in the next couple of months. Mr. Coon, Ms. Ferguson, and Mrs. Revielle have also guaranteed that students who await induction or have earned cords for Quill and Scroll, International Thespian Society, or National Honor Society respectively will still earn and receive their honors, though inductions ceremonies will depend on when the school reopens its doors.

So if not May 23, when could we see the Class of 2020 don their gowns and get their diplomas? According to Mr. Young, the ceremony could be held as late as early July due to the recommendations among the public health officials that all shelter in place requirements and travel restrictions would likely be over by the end of June. However, if the date of graduation is delayed, the district will pick a date that is as close to the original date as possible while ensuring that the new date falls in line with recommendations by the state and Boulder and Weld County Public Health.

Although July seems far away, as a senior myself, I can say that it is reassuring to definitively know that we will be getting a graduation ceremony–not a Webex meeting with gowns or a drive-up-and-get-your-diploma graduation, but the traditional ceremony that we’ve earned. Summer graduations are common for most high schools on the East Coast, so while a late graduation may be frustrating, it’s good to know that it will happen. “We will continue to monitor the state guidelines on school closures, sports, activities, and will provide updates as we get them,” said Mr. Young. “Take care, be well, and keep learning.”