High school seniors may be missing out on some of the traditional activities of graduation, but at least a couple of ceremonies are taking place this week to remind them of their achievements.
Booker High School will host a celebration to honor seniors graduating from the school’s Visual & Performing Arts Program from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. this Friday, May 22, on the Bayside Lawn outside of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, near the water, with tents. Students will arrive in scheduled waves to collect a graduation gift and have their photos taken. They’ll be told to practice social distancing, but this will at least provide them an opportunity to see their discipline-area teacher.
One of the organizers, Rebecca Abrahamson, says it’s a “time for us to bequeath to our seniors the ceremonial VPA silver cord, which is a component of their graduation regalia that signifies their successful completion of the pre-professional arts program.” While official graduations are being planned for later this summer, this event is “only meant as a moment to celebrate the special achievement of completing the VPA program.”
Parents of Pine View seniors, along with PVA (Pine View’s Volunteer Organization) are also honoring Pine View’s graduating seniors this week, in the parking lot of the Van Wezel from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. May 23. Students will park their cars in the lot, spaced by one whole parking space in between cars, and stay in their respective spots in front of their cars. (Students without cars will be dropped off.) Students are asked to bring chairs and stay within their spots; once the seniors are positioned, friends and relatives will drive through the lot on a designated path entering on 10th Street and exiting through Boulevard of the Arts.
Again, this is not an official graduation, and students will not be wearing their caps and gowns, but it is an opportunity to commemorate this milestone. Family and friends are being encouraged to decorate their cars to honor their grads.
Official graduation for Rivervew High seniors is set for July 18, at 9:30 a.m. at Robarts Arena, with a dance at the Hyatt Sarasota planned for 7 p.m. July 8. Venice High seniors will graduate July 16 at CoolToday Park; visit facebook.com/venicehighscs for more. We'll update as more graduation and celebration news becomes available.