The Class of 2021 in Clovis Unified and Fresno City College will gather together in outdoor stadiums for their graduation ceremonies later this spring, officials confirmed Wednesday.
With Fresno County now in the orange Tier 3 of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan, the school district and college are planning for a resumption of traditional ceremonies, although with some adjustments.
Graduates of Clovis Unified’s five comprehensive high schools will walk across a stage to collect their diploma, and there will be traditional music, speeches, and fireworks.
But this year students will be seated apart from each other on the football field instead of sitting side by side on risers. Meanwhile, family members will be seated on both sides of the stadium instead of on one side as in the past. Each graduate will get a maximum of six ceremony tickets, or up to eight with proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Masks will be required.
The ceremonies will be livestreamed so additional family members and friends may watch.
“We are thrilled that we can have our seniors together with their classmates in one ceremony. We know that what our students have wanted most is to be with one another in this milestone moment,” Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell said in a news release.
Fresno Unified School District recently announced that its Class of 2021 also would graduate in outdoor, in-person ceremonies.
This year’s Clovis Unified ceremony will be a marked contrast from the ceremonies held for the Class of 2020 that came barely two months into the pandemic.
In recognition that a high school graduation is an important milestone for many graduates and their families, Clovis Unified provided “single student” ceremonies that enabled graduates to walk one by one across a stage, receive their diploma and an elbow bump from masked schools officials, while a maximum of four family members watched from nearby. The ceremonies, which were livestreamed so other family members and friends could watch virtually, stretched over days to accommodate the graduates.
Ceremonies this year for Alternative Education, Clovis Adult Education, and Clovis Online School graduates will held as individual student graduations instead of group graduations.
Clovis Unified Class of 2021 Graduations
- Clovis East High School, Lamonica Stadium (Clovis High campus), 7:30 p.m. May 26
- Clovis High School, Lamonica Stadium, 7:30 p.m. May 27
- Alternative Education, Mercedes Edwards Theatre, 1:30-6 p.m. May 28
- Clovis Adult Education, drive-thru in CAE parking lot, 9 a.m. May 28
- Clovis Online School, Mercedes Edwards Theatre, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m, May 29
- Clovis North High School, Veterans Memorial Stadium (Buchanan High campus), 7:30 p.m. June 1
- Clovis West High School, Veterans Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m. June 2
- Buchanan High School, Veterans Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m. June 3
Fresno City’s Biggest Graduating Class Ever
Fresno City’s graduating class will be the largest in the college’s history, with 2,295 students claiming degrees or certificates. The Class of 2020 numbered 2,006. The higher numbers signify the dedication and perseverance of students even as they contended with the hardships that the pandemic created, the college said.
The college is hosting two ceremonies that will be held at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno at 8 p.m. on June 23 and June 24 to accommodate the larger number of graduates and give them time to purchase their regalia.
Students will get an email Friday with a link to confirm their reservation for the ceremony and to reserve tickets for up to two family members or friends. The deadline to make a reservation is May 14, and students without reservations will not be allowed to participate or receive tickets.
The graduations are being split among the college pathways, with business, and health and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) on June 23, and arts, communication, and language; culture, education, and society; and tech and trades on June 24. Each ceremony will end with fireworks.
Masks will be required and social distancing will be observed.
The ceremonies will recognize graduates of the Class of 2020 as well as the Class of 2021. Meanwhile, the college still plans to provide a virtual graduation ceremony for those students who remain hesitant to participate in public events with large numbers of people.