Graduate Emerald Miller receives her high school diploma from her parents at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Connections home-school program graduation ceremony, Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduate Emerald Miller receives her high school diploma from her parents at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Connections home-school program graduation ceremony, Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Schools look for “meaningful alternatives” to graduations

Schools will observe state health mandates and guidelines in celebrating the class of 2020.

With social distancing mandates still in place, schools are scrambling to find ways to celebrate graduating students this May.

Kenai Peninsula College announced on Facebook Tuesday they’ll be hosting a virtual commencement this year. It’s the college’s 50th annual commencement, according to the school’s event page on Facebook. The virtual commencement will take place online at 6 p.m. May 7.

“We want to honor all of our graduates during this uncertain time and give them the commencement they earned,” the school’s event page said.

Schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are trying to find their own creative solutions to celebrate graduating seniors. Pegge Erkeneff, communications director with the district, said district administration is working with school principals — who are reaching out to staff, students and parents — to design ceremonies celebrating student achievement. Across the peninsula, schools have a range of graduating classes, from one student at smaller schools to nearly 200 students in larger high schools, Erkeneff said.

“Everyone acknowledges the disappointment that traditional graduations aren’t possible at this time, and the hope is that meaningful alternatives are created,” Erkeneff said.

Erkeneff said schools will observe state health mandates and guidelines in celebrating the class of 2020. School graduation plans may be finalized and shared with students and parents by next week, Erkeneff said.

Graduations for Homer Flex, Homer High School, Kenai Alternative School and Soldotna High School were set for May 18.

Graduations were planned for May 19 for Hope School, Kachemak Selo School, Nikiski High School, Nikolaevsk School, Razdolna School, Seward High School, Susan B. English School, Tebughna School, Voznesenka School.

Kenai Central High School, Nanwalek School, Ninilchik High School, Port Graham School and River City Academy will graduate seniors May 20.

Connections, the district’s home school program, is graduating seniors May 21.

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