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Traditional Graduation Still A 2020 Possibility

With Adopt-a-Senior efforts well underway and signs posted on graduate’s lawns, a natural question arises: what does graduation look like for Oakdale’s Class of 2020 students?

Oakdale Joint Unified School District Superintendent Marc Malone is hopeful for a June graduation that is “as close to a traditional format as possible,” and encourages patience among community members.

Though some other local districts have opted for a substitute ceremony, Malone commented that OJUSD is not in favor of substituting a formal ceremony unless there are no other choices. To honor graduates, the Corral’s lights will be shining on Friday evening, May 22 when the original Oakdale High School graduation would have been.

“Our hope is that those lights being on will be an indication of them hopefully being on in June,” Malone shared.

He explained that the intent has always been to have a ceremony, though the specific date has been hard to ascertain. Malone, alongside the district and school board, hopes that this postponed traditional graduation will bring some much-needed normality.

“The virus has already robbed our kids of enough,” he expressed. “We don’t want to rob them of that memory of being in the stadium together one more time.”

This delayed graduation ceremony plan will go for all types of schools affiliated with OJUSD: the high school, junior high, charter school, and alternative education. It is contingent on the social distancing variable, with hopes that as restrictions are lifted, the ceremonies can commence.

Malone, aware of more negative outcomes, noted that if restrictions change directions and instead become even more strict, the district will be in conversation with student leaders to decide the next steps and ask the students “what would best honor you?”

For now, graduates and families can hope for a traditional graduation ceremony at some point during the month of June. Malone further assured that schools will open “in some configuration” on Aug. 6 for the start of the 2020-21 school year.