Amphi announces outdoor graduation ceremonies

Amphitheater Unified School District high schools will host outdoor graduation ceremonies, district officials announced last week.

The three high schools have also consulted with the Pima County Health Department to decide the best health practices to hold these events.

Graduating seniors at all three high schools - Canyon del Oro, Ironwood Ridge, and Amphi - will receive four guest tickets. All attendees must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. A livestream option will also be available for all who cannot or do not wish to attend.

Amphi Communications Director Michelle Valenzuela said students would inform the school if they do not wish to participate, but they are not keeping track at the district level.

In an announcement to students and families, Amphitheater High School Principal A.J. Malis asked for patience as information changes and schedules are determined. The schools are mandating students attend the graduation rehearsal ceremonies to determine the distancing and seating of every student.

At a graduation parent meeting on Wednesday, Ironwood Ridge Principal Matt Munger emphasized the importance of attending the rehearsal.

“If they do not, unfortunately, attend the rehearsal, that will preclude them from participating in the commencement ceremony,” Munger said.

Amphitheater District high schools will also offer students the opportunity to participate in Project Grad. Normally a surprise event for students after graduation, Project Grad will now look a little different with schools using outdoor space to plan a socially distanced celebration after the graduation ceremonies.

Amphitheater schools follow announcements from Tucson and Marana Unified School District announcements on graduation ceremonies two weeks ago.

Unlike Amphitheater and Tucson, two of Marana Unified School district high schools are offering alternative graduation ceremonies for students who do not wish to take part in the main event.

Marana and Mountain View High School students will be able to go up on a stage and receive their diploma with a limit of four guests present. Each student will have a set time slot to receive their diploma and take pictures. Mountainview High School students have until May 10 to decide which ceremony they will participate in.

However, Marana Unified School district is not actively encouraging vaccinations for graduating seniors, like the other two districts.

For Amphi graduating seniors, Valenzuela said they are actively encouraging vaccinations, but not mandating them.

“At Amphitheater, we encourage anyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, though we recognize that individuals must make their own decisions based on their particular circumstances,” said Valenzuela.