A Note from the THS Administration to Seniors

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Senior Students and their parents recived an email reccently that left some worried and other angry about Graduation plans. Today, THS Administration sent the following:

Graduates:

As you are aware, the 2020 commencement ceremony will be a virtual one. We will be recording student “walks-across-the-stage” in ten-minute intervals for three full days – May 6th, 7th & 8th – in five locations. We will film in alphabetical order divided among the five locations. Attached is the recording schedule which includes the location, date and time for recording your walk.

There are many components to the Commencement Ceremony video that cannot be filmed or added until after grades are finalized on the 12th which is why the graduates’ walks across stage are being recorded first. In order to get each graduate recorded and allow time for the video to be put together for airing on May 22nd with the students’ speeches, honors, and all other parts of the ceremony, we are working within an extremely tight schedule. Please be on time and follow instructions carefully. Signs will be posted at all locations and THS staff will be directing the activities.

The safety and health of our graduates, their families, and the Tupelo Public School District employees is first and foremost in our minds. TPSD is committed to following the CDC safety guidelines in regard to COVID-19.

Milam location – park in the Robins street lot. Stay in your car until a THS employee directs you and your family to enter the building.

Civic Auditorium location – park in front of the Civic Auditorium on Varsity Drive. Stay in your car until a THS employee directs you and your family to enter the building.

Lawhon location – park in front of Lawhon school on Lake Street. Stay in your car until a THS employee directs you and your family to enter the building.

THS Small Auditorium location – park in the lot in front of the new gymnasium. Follow the sidewalk between B and C buildings to get to the small auditorium. Stay in your car until a THS employee directs you and your family to enter the building.

THS Performing Arts Center recordings – park in the lot in front of the Performing Arts Center. Stay in your car until a THS employee directs you and your family to enter the building.

Our goal is to have the video produced and ready for airing on Comcast at 7:00 p.m. on May 22 – the original graduation time. We are also working with the city to “make some noise” when the video ends to celebrate the Class of 2020. These plans are furthering daily so please be patient as we roll them out.

A note from Mr. Dobbs:

I want the Class of 2020 to know how sorry I am that we cannot give you the graduation you deserve. This has been one of the toughest times in THS history for us as a school, and for me as your principal. As an educator, I only want the best for our students. These seniors matter to me and, if we thought there was a better way, we would do it. Currently, COVID-19 restrictions do not allow for gatherings of more than 10 people. With cases in Mississippi yet to peak, no one knows when CDC guidelines will allow gathering numbers to increase to 5000 (our normal number of graduation attendees), 1500 (just graduates with 2 guests), or even 500 (graduates and required staff only). This plan is what we know we can do for sure now.

Our committee of seniors, parents, staff and administrators, who brainstormed and planned the commencement ceremony did not enter into that task lightly. When we met virtually, everyone felt it was too big a risk to wait and hope that we could have a more traditional service later in the summer.

If restrictions should lift in June or July and a gathering of 500 is allowed, we will absolutely have a Class of 2020 celebration together with all graduates. Until then, we are asking for your support and understanding and to trust that we are doing all we can do at this time to recognize our graduates.

Stay safe and Go Wave!

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