Viera High graduation set for July 18

Viera High School will hold its graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. July 18.

Viera High School is scheduled to hold its graduation ceremony at

7 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at Hawk Stadium.

The Brevard Public Schools originally had scheduled Viera’s ceremony for 8:30 a.m. but changed it to 7 p.m. following an executive order from the state concerning Bright Futures Scholarships.

The order indicated that students seeking volunteer hours that could not complete them because of the coronavirus pandemic said their school counselor can code their hours as complete.  

This action was completed last month at Viera for students who applied for the Bright Futures scholarships. 

In addition, if students’ testing scores were just a bit low, there will now be an opportunity to take the ACT here in Brevard County this month.

Five high schools have agreed to offer the ACT on July 18: Astronaut, Bayside, Cocoa, Melbourne and Satellite high schools.

VHS principal Sarah Robinson said that in addition to the time change, another restriction for the VHS graduation ceremony because of the pandemic is that seniors are allowed only two tickets each instead of the normal eight in past years.

"We are still awaiting word from the district as to other restrictions for our graduation ceremony," she said.

In the past, if it was raining, the ceremony was moved from Hawk Stadium to the gymnasium. However, the district has yet to issue coronavirus guidelines should that occur. 

According to a news release from Brevard Public Schools, it plans to hold graduation ceremonies for its 16 high schools and some 5,000 seniors during the week of July 20.

Due to prevailing guidelines for social distancing and large group gatherings, BPS will not be able to host in-person graduation ceremonies during the previously reserved dates for June.

This decision comes as a follow up to the district’s April 17 announcement of graduation backup plans that included alternative dates in both June and July and were developed in consultation with high school principals and student government leaders. It took into account the collective wishes of the Class of 2020.

The selection of the July timeframe came after much deliberation by district leaders about the realities of holding traditional ceremonies in June given the restrictions outlined in the Governor’s re-opening plan, and in keeping the health and safety of BPS staff, students and families at the forefront.

"We understand the decision to wait until July may mean that some of our seniors will not be able to participate for various reasons," said BPS Superintendent Mark Mullin. "Given where we are today, I believe delaying is the right thing to do. It is our hope that a graduation ceremony in July will provide a much-deserved celebration and reunion for the Class of 2020."

Seniors were considered graduates as of May 29. Final transcripts were ready June 24. Students who had unique situations and required them earlier worked with their schools directly to obtain them.

During an April video conference with the Superintendent, student government leaders discussed the pros and cons of delaying graduations until later in the summer, recognizing that some students would not be able to attend due to military deployments, freshman events and other commitments. All agreed that it was important that seniors have a live graduation instead of a virtual ceremony, which students felt did not offer the same experience and satisfaction that comes from walking across the stage to receive their diploma.