Graduation ceremonies for Marble Falls and Falls Career high schools are still on for May 29, and Marble Falls school district officials are committed to in-person events, though they haven’t yet worked out the details.
The commencement ceremony for Marble Falls High School, with 270 seniors, is scheduled for 8 p.m. that Friday at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive. Falls Career High School’s graduation will be held at First Baptist Church, 901 La Ventana Drive in Marble Falls, with start time to be determined.
“We plan on having kids walk across the stage,” said Dr. Chris Allen, superintendent of Marble Falls Independent School District. “It’s one of the few events on a level platform. On that night, if we’re able to, we’re going to have kids walk across the stage.”
The district will firm up details once it receives more guidance from state and local government officials and health experts, some of whom are waiting to see how the coronavirus pandemic impacts Burnet County in the days to come.
Allen has had numerous conversations with experts about COVID-19, social distancing, and how to implement safety measures for graduation. Some want to wait until Gov. Greg Abbott reveals Phase 2 plans for reopening Texas. On April 27, the governor announced the April 30 expiration of the state’s stay-at-home order and released his plan to reopen the state in phases. The first phase, which allowed restaurant dining rooms and some non-essential businesses to reopen at 25 percent capacity and with restrictions, began May 1.
The second phase, which would allow an increase to 50 percent capacity and other non-essential businesses to reopen, could start as early as May 18.
School campuses have been closed since mid-March and will not reopen to in-class learning this academic year.
Seniors have had to miss out on many end-of-year celebrations. Some schools have postponed or canceled graduation ceremonies, but MFISD aims to go ahead with the important event.
While much attention is focused on graduating seniors, Allen pointed out that it’s a celebration for many.
Commencement is also for those who have helped the graduate reach that milestone, including their families, friends, faculty members, tutors, and those who witnessed the struggles along the way.
Graduation symbolizes triumph.
A big question is if the seniors’ loved ones will be able to watch them walk across the stage in person.
Allen made it clear that is what he and his staff want.
He noted that some high school ceremonies are designed to honor student achievements in academics, athletics, fine arts, and other activities.
But during graduation, every senior gets their named called and cheered.
“It’s the only night you do that,” the superintendent said. “On that night, it doesn’t matter if you’re (ranked) number one or 201, you get your name called, and we all get to be proud because you’ve done something that gets you applauded that takes self-discipline.”