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U-46 virtual graduation honors 2,700 students

By Seth Hancock
  School District U-46 held a virtual graduation for seniors on Saturday, June 13 as over 2,700 students graduated according to a district press release.
  According to the district, it has an 83 percent graduation rate which is behind the 86 percent state average. South Elgin High School had 628 graduates, Elgin 624, Bartlett 592, Elgin’s Larkin 463 and Streamwood 438.
  The district moved forward with the virtual graduation amid the COVID-19 shutdown despite pushback from students. U-46 had rescheduled its May graduation to July 11 at Hoffman Estate’s Sears Centre before deciding to go with the virtual ceremony.
  A petition, which has garnered over 2,000 signatures, was created asking for a creative graduation ceremony in person. Several school districts have already held in-person ceremonies with “social distancing” guidelines in place.
  “This is not how any of us expected to celebrate the Class of 2020, but we have done our best to make this virtual ceremony meaningful for our graduates and their families,” said Superintendent Tony Sanders for the release. “I am proud of how our seniors have faced this challenge, with resiliency, humor, kindness and understanding. We are celebrating differently this year, but we are still united.”
  Caps and gowns were distributed at schools and seniors took a photo to be uploaded for the virtual ceremony. Speeches were prerecorded at South Elgin High School by administrators and selected seniors.
  The government mandated shutdown changed the school calendar this year, a final calendar having been approved by the Board of Education at its May 18 meeting by a unanimous vote.
  The final day of school was May 26 while distance learning began after a March 16 emergency day. There were 176 total student attendance days and 184 teacher attendance days according to the final calendar.
  Sanders stated at the May 18 board meeting that “it’s a requirement of the law that we submit a final calendar to the state every year to recognize any emergency days or anything else that has happened.”




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