LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - An important area of focus during Governor Abbott’s news conference on Tuesday, May 5th, was high-school graduations; specifically the approval of hybrid, drive-thru and outdoor options for school districts across the state.
The turning of the tassel is a right of passage. However, that moment was not guaranteed to this year’s graduating class, at least not until today, when an announcement - which was the perfect example of team work making the dream work - was made Tuesday afternoon.
“Education as an endeavor for high-school students is something they have spent 13 years of their lives on, with educators pouring love and skill into them over the course of their educational career. It is important that we honor that achievement as they begin to make that transition to the next phase in life,” said Mike Morath, the Texas Education Agency Commissioner, during Tuesday’s news conference.
The official go-ahead from Governor Abbott and Morath for outdoor graduations was exactly what Lubbock ISD Superintendent, Dr. Kathy Rollo was hoping to hear, “Our heart was aching that we might not be able to give it to them, but we are so excited that we can and we can plan for that.”
Dr. Rollo says Lubbock ISD, along with Lubbock-Cooper and Frenship ISD worked diligently to present a plan to the Lubbock Economic Recovery Task Force and the state’s Strike Force that would allow them to adhere to medical guidelines, while still allowing seniors to celebrate.
“We modeled it after a lot of the guidance that had already been given to retail and restaurants and so we used a lot of the same, well, all of those same best practices to put into this proposal,” added Dr. Rollo.
She says that even though the overall experience might be a bit different, “Some things will look different, we’re not going to shake hands, and we’ll probably point to where the diploma is so that they can pick it up,” she says the district will do everything in its power to create an enjoyable experience for graduates and their families on June 4th, 5th and 6th at Lowery Field.
And it’s not only Lubbock ISD planning outdoor graduations. Both Lubbock-Cooper and Frenship ISD are planning to utilize similar graduation arrangements.
Dr. Rollo says it’s a solution that was very much needed, “It allows us to put a bow, somewhat, on this school year, by having this very important ceremony.”