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Days, venues set for high school graduations

By Staff | May 18, 2020

Lee County seniors recently got some news they have been waiting for – a timeline for a virtual graduation ceremony to be aired on YouTube in June, with traditional graduations to follow in July at either the Hertz Arena or the Suncoast Arena at Florida SouthWestern State College.

The letter stated: “Each of the district’s 13 traditional high schools with a senior class is currently working on putting together a virtual graduation ceremony that will air on YouTube from June 19 to the 21 (exact schedule for each school is still being developed). Each virtual ceremony will be modeled after a traditional ceremony with speeches that include school board members, district leadership, school principals, and student leaders. Every student’s name will be announced while a photo of each graduate in cap and gown is shown on the screen. Students, parents, extended family members, and friends will have the opportunity to remotely view the ceremony.”

Lee County School District spokesperson Rob Spicker said the virtual graduation will look like a traditional graduation with remarks of the school’s principal to be recorded and aired, as well as those of two students and a message from board members. Each student’s name will be announced with their portrait on the screen.

“It’s a pretty common template,” he said.

With some students having to leave Lee County in June to go to the military, college or to a job somewhere else, they wanted to have the virtual ceremony to honor the students who could not be at the ceremony in July.

A survey, which was sent to district parents and students, revealed that 90 percent responded they would attend an in-person ceremony and 73 percent preferred the use of a large off-campus facility.

The ceremonies are as follows:

HERTZ ARENA

11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero

July 17

– Ida S. Baker High School at 10 a.m.

– North Fort Myers High School at 2:30 p.m.

– Lehigh Senior High School at 7 p.m.

July 18

– Estero High School at 10 a.m.

– Riverdale High School at 2:30 p.m.

– Fort Myers High School at 7 p.m.

July 19

– East Lee County High School at 2:30 p.m.

– South Fort Myers High School at 7 p.m.

SUNCOAST ARENA AT FSW

8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers

July 24

– Cypress Lake High School at 10 a.m.

– Dunbar High School at 7 p.m.

July 25

– Mariner High School at 10 a.m.

– Cape Coral High School at 7 p.m.

July 26

– Island Coast High School at 2:30 p.m.

“Hertz and FSW are two of the three arenas that we usually use,” Spicker said. “We are glad to be able to do that again in July.”

He said with the last day for senior students held on May 15, this week – May 18-22 – they will have the opportunity to return their district-issued Chromebooks, text books and sports uniforms, while picking up their cap and gown. In addition, seniors will pick up their congratulatory yard sign.

Spicker said each school will inform seniors of the times and days, as well as the exact process to return their items and pick up the items.

He said the congratulatory yard signs are just one more step the district wanted to take to make sure students knew how proud it is of their accomplishments, as well as informing the neighborhood that there is a senior graduating.

Spicker asks that seniors and their families look for more information, through email or their Chromebooks, on graduation such as steps to make to ensure ceremonies go as smoothly as possible. The information is in regard to graduation practice, rehearsal or when something is due.

“Don’t miss out on anything with these graduations,” he said.