The 2019-20 school year has been one of the most memorable in history. Graduation exercises for the Class of 2020 will be, too. The ongoing public health emergency will not stop us from celebrating this amazing group of young people — their achievements, their memories and their contributions to the Henrico County community.
On behalf of our School Board and the principals of our high schools and ACE Centers, I’m excited to share our plan to recognize and honor the senior class: “Graduation Celebration 2020,” a three-part celebration of our seniors. Graduation Celebration 2020 will include:
- A virtual “Graduation Ceremony Watch Party.”
- A “Graduation Victory Lap” on the famous track at Richmond Raceway.
- A “Cap and Gown Photo Session” for each senior.
Below are descriptions of each part of the Henrico County Public Schools Graduation Celebration 2020.
Graduation Ceremony Watch Party
This first occasion will be a TV, video and social-media event that enables you, your graduate and your loved ones to watch and experience commencement from home, while observing coronavirus health and safety guidelines. It will include many of the elements of a traditional graduation, such as student speeches and remarks from local dignitaries. It is during this event that our seniors will be officially pronounced “graduates.” Most important of all, our seniors will each have a well-earned moment in the spotlight during a video slideshow. Graduates’ names will be announced ceremoniously as their photos are shown.
Graduation is about sharing this special moment with family and friends, and in that respect, this will be no different. Henrico County Public Schools’ livestream of this virtual ceremony, as well as a simulcast on cable television (Comcast channel 99, Verizon channel 38), will allow your family to plan small at-home “watch parties” to help celebrate and honor your graduate. We’ll encourage families to post and share their experiences on social media, so we can all see and experience our collective joy together, even though we must continue to be apart.
Graduation Victory Lap UPDATE
June 10-12 (Rain date June 13)
The second element of Graduation Celebration 2020 will give our seniors and their families a once-in-a-lifetime experience while also staying safe during the pandemic. Richmond Raceway has offered us “America’s Premier Short Track” for a “Graduation Victory Lap,” where our graduates and their immediate family members will parade in cars around the historic oval.
Seniors graduating from our high schools will arrive in decorated vehicles (one vehicle per graduate, nine-passenger limit) and be directed to the track by a Richmond Raceway pace car. Once in “pole position,” you’ll be able to tune into HCPS’ student radio station to hear “Pomp and Circumstance” (and possibly other special messages!) while cruising toward victory lane. Principals will be there to wave the checkered flag as each graduate crosses the finish line while their names are announced in front of school faculty members and local dignitaries.
NEW Graduation Victory Lap dates and times:
Wednesday, June 10 at Richmond Raceway
(these schools have their “watch parties” on June 9.)
- 10 a.m.: Deep Run
- 1 p.m.: Mills E. Godwin
- 4 p.m.: Douglas S. Freeman
Thursday, June 11 at Richmond Raceway
(these schools have their “watch parties” on June 10.)
- 10 a.m.: Glen Allen
- 1 p.m.: Hermitage
- 4 p.m.: J.R. Tucker
Friday, June 12 at Richmond Raceway
(Highland Springs, Varina and Henrico have their ‘watch parties’ on June 11; AVR has its “watch party” on June 8.)
- 10 a.m.: Highland Springs
- 1 p.m.: Varina
- 4 p.m.: Henrico
- Approximately 5:30 p.m.: Academy at Virginia Randolph
Cap and Gown Photo Session
(Specific day and time will be communicated by each school.)
The culmination of Graduation Celebration 2020 will be a meaningful experience that families can cherish for a lifetime. Our graduates will pose in their caps and gowns, accepting their diplomas, in individual photos by our professional photographer. Each graduate will have a time scheduled just for them to come to school to receive his or her diploma and pose for an iconic picture. HCPS will cover the cost of one 8-by-10 print for each graduate!
In closing, there is no denying the disappointment we all feel at not being able to gather at VCU’s Siegel Center in June to watch our seniors parade across the arena floor in person. But the legacy of this class will always be, “they did whatever it took” — and that includes graduation.
Our schools will share more details about the graduation exercises in the weeks ahead, and how all of us can join together to make this a one-of-a-kind experience. Should the current health crisis improve, we will remain flexible about how best to celebrate our seniors, and communicate any changes to you. For now, I hope you will make plans to celebrate a very special class.
Amy E. Cashwell, Ed. D.
Dr. Thomas E. Ferrell, Jr.
Director of High School Education
Director of Workforce and Career Development
Dr. Brian Fellows
Principal, Deep Run High School
Principal, Douglas S. Freeman High School
Principal, Glen Allen High School
Principal, Mills E. Godwin High School
Principal, Henrico High School
Dr. Michael Jackson
Principal, Hermitage High School
Dr. Kenneth White
Principal, Highland Springs High School
Principal, J. R. Tucker High School
Ann Marie Seely
Principal, Varina High School
Associate Principal, Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage
Dr. Emily Loving
Principal, Advanced Career Education Center at Highland Springs
Principal, Campus at Virginia Randolph
Chief of Communications and Community Engagement