In-person graduation confirmed for class of 2021

Jason Lin and Jeffrey Tu

Seniors can expect an in-person graduation at 5:30 p.m., June 2 at the Viking Stadium, according to Greer Stone, Palo Alto High School’s student activities director.

Palo Alto High School’s Class of 2021 can look forward to an in-person graduation. Paly’s student activities director Greer Stone noted that prom was canceled to guarantee the in-person senior graduation. Senior Griffin Zajac said he thinks this is the safest choice the district can currently make while giving . “We’re already lucky to be having a graduation party and senior picnic,” Zajac said. “Still, I can understand other seniors feeling disappointed. I think smaller events held later after the end of the school year when more seniors have had the chance to be vaccinated would be a safer option.” Graphic: Kabir Advani

Stone noted that prom has been canceled to guarantee an in-person graduation.

“The district said ‘No’ to prom and the stated reason was, we want to make sure that the focus is on graduation,” Stone said. “If we were to have a problem and an outbreak happens at prom, that would likely jeopardize our ability to have an in-person graduation.”

At graduation, each graduate will be able to bring up to four guests from the same household, and all attendees will be required to complete a health screener before entering the stadium, Stone said.

“For most of the year it did not look like we were going to be able to have in-person graduation,” Stone said. “I think we’re very fortunate that we’re gonna be able to have a graduation but we also need to be smart about it and recognize this pandemic is not over by any means.”

Assistant Principal Margaret Reynolds is managing graduation, and recently sent out RSVP requests to all eligible seniors and their families to gauge attendance. Reynolds said she is currently working with the district office to develop a ticket that automatically connects with parents’ ParentSquare health screening.  

“It’s kind of like when you go to a major sporting event or concert,” Reynolds said. “You get a ticket and you’re assigned a proper seat.”

Everyone in the stadium will be socially distanced, sitting six feet apart from people who are not a part of their household, according to Stone.

Senior Medha Atla is currently helping to plan the graduation as a member of ASB’s graduation committee. Atla said that most students were are prioritizing graduation over prom.

“Some people are upset because we didn’t even get prom last year, but also I think they do understand the fact that hosting a prom might threaten an in-person graduation,” Atla said. “In terms of which one they would want more, it seems like the overall resounding answer is graduation.