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May 5, 2020: 

Update: Duluth Public Schools Will Hold Virtual High School Graduation Ceremonies

Duluth Public Schools officials announced today that high schools will celebrate graduations virtually this year.  The decision was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and state orders restricting large gatherings.

“Graduation from high school is a significant milestone, one that students anticipate and look forward to for years,” said Bill Gronseth, Superintendent. “In the face of the pandemic and the restrictions and uncertainty around it, identifying a safe and meaningful way to honor that milestone and our graduating seniors is important. We want to provide our schools ample time to work on this.  We understand this is not the way families or students envisioned graduation would be - no one did - but it’s the best decision for this time.”   

Denfeld and Duluth East are working with staff and students to create virtual graduation ceremony videos.  The schools are partnering with WDSE-TV8 and the pre-recorded celebrations will be broadcast and shared with the Duluth community. Pre-production of the video will include an opportunity for a student to have their photo taken on their high school stage, wearing their cap and gown,with a limited number of family members present.

Schools are incorporating traditional elements such as speeches and music, plus components that would not normally be part of an on-stage ceremony such as photos and videos.  Most importantly, they are providing graduating seniors the honor of being recognized for all they have accomplished. 

“Our schools have had discussions, both formal and informal, with students and staff since it was first anticipated that current circumstances might require a new approach to graduation,” said Danette Seboe, Duluth East High School Principal. “The goal of this planning was and is to provide a memorable senior experience.”

“We’re committed to providing a safe, creative and moving celebration that honors our graduating seniors, one that can be shared with families and with the citizens of Duluth,” said Laurie Knapp, Interim Denfeld High School Principal. 

“The staff at all of our schools strive to make graduation and the commencement ceremony a special experience, and they’re determined more than ever to do so again this year,” said Gronseth. “I’m proud of our seniors and our school staff during this uncertain time and grateful for the support and understanding of families and our Duluth community.” 

Further details regarding virtual graduation ceremonies and activities honoring the Class of 2020 will be shared by each school as they become available.

Academic Excellence Online (AEO), Area Learning Center (ALC), and Adult Basic Education (ABE) are also planning virtual graduation events.