Dallas ISD's Class of 2021 will be able to celebrate their graduation in-person, the district says.
Dallas ISD announced the in-person graduations Monday, which begin on Friday with James Madison High School and finish on June 22 with Townview High School.
High school graduation is the culmination of hard work and a rite of passage into adulthood. For the past year and half, the class of 2021 wondered if they’d get their moment to publicly shine. This week, Dallas ISD seniors were relieved to learn they will get to walk across the stage.
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Paolaenid Rodney Hernandez is counting down to June 19. There were doubts along the way though. Last year, Hernandez witnessed the disappointment of friends who didn’t get their big moment.
“It’s a moment you look forward to ever since you’re young and now it’s here,” she said.
Susana Cordova is Deputy Superintendent of Leading and Learning for Dallas ISD. She said the decision was made after studying recent COVID-19 trends and CDC guidance. The district determined in-person graduations could be done safely.
“The sense of loss over the last year and a half is really high, and I think these ceremonies bring a sense of normalcy,” Cordova said. “Their junior year was interrupted. Their senior year has been interrupted. And as we were getting ready for graduation, we were really focused on how we could create as much of a normal experience as possible.”
Each senior will receive eight tickets. Hernandez already has hers reserved for a few very important people, which include her mother, sister, best friend and her grandmother, who traveled from Puerto Rico for this milestone.
“It’s something meaningful that she was able to come all the way from Puerto Rico here to see me walk across the stage,” Hernandez said.
For years to come, scholars will likely study the social and emotional impact of the pandemic on today’s teens. For now though, Hernandez wants to soak in the end of this chapter and look forward to the start of a new one.
“It’s going to be exciting,” she said. “A lot of emotions are going to come up, I know that for sure because of everything we’ve gone through this year.”
A few months ago, NBC 5 reported concerns within the district, as roughly 60% of Dallas ISD seniors were on track to graduate. They’ve made progress and as of today, 84% are on track to walk the stage.
Due to a May executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, masks cannot be required but are encouraged by the district.
Guests are asked to self-screen for COVID-19, and social distancing guidelines for both guests and students will be in place, Dallas ISD said.
For information on how to watch all Dallas ISD ceremonies virtually visit https://www.dallasisd.org/graduations