The McCracken County High School Class of 2020 live-streamed its graduation ceremony last week in a total 15-hour presentation that took three days to complete. On Friday, the school will introduce a video compilation of those ceremonies in one production.
The graduation video will be introduced at 7:30 p.m. Friday. A link to the video will be posted at mccrack en.kyschools.us and at the MCHS website as well as to district and school social media sites.
The 442 graduates were live-streamed in the school auditorium accepting their diplomas from Principal Matt Houser from May 13-15. Students were assigned a day and time to come to the school for their part of the ceremony, and each day’s streaming took about five hours.
The change from the traditional graduation ceremony was made to keep compliance with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Gov. Andy Beshear.
High schools across the state are altering or postponing their ceremonies. Graduation options used in western Kentucky include a drive-in ceremony and a videotaped compilation.
Some schools have reset their ceremonies for the summer in the hopes that a traditional ceremony can be held by that time.
“Our media department worked together on our school Media Arts YouTube channel to live-stream the entire 15-hour process,” Houser said. “We sent parents a link, and they were able to use that or search the Media Arts for McCracken County and find it.
“… If your son or grandson was set for a certain day between 3 and 4, for example, you knew to tune in at that time and see them walk on the live-stream.”
Graduates were filmed walking across the auditorium stage and receiving a diploma cover from Houser. A 60-foot-long red carpet was even rolled out for the occasion.
“We tried to make it a really cool experience,” Houser said. “They were able to get a professional photograph following the diploma handoff.
“We had different stations for different parts of the ceremony. They received their diploma right before they walked out the door. It was kind of a station-by-station, everybody separated event. It went really well.”
Houser said the video was produced by Paducah marketing company Socially Present and included other elements of a graduation ceremony.
“I was recorded giving an introductory speech,” he said. “(Superintendent Steve) Carter was recorded giving the discharge to the graduates at the end.
“We had two graduation speakers. Two students were selected from a lot of students who submitted entries, and they were recorded. We also had the national anthem recorded.”
Houser completes his first year as the principal at MCHS, and he said that while this was not what he had imagined in sending off his first class, the end of the school year went well, all things considered.
“These seniors have sacrificed a lot,” he said. “A lot of them have had to miss out on some opportunities that they were looking forward to — some of them have been looking forward to for many years.
“My heart goes out to them, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of them and their response. They have come together, and I think everybody realizes that we have all lost something due to this — obviously, some more than others. They have pulled together, and I didn’t hear one complaint through the whole 15 hours.”