The announcement is no surprise to anyone, but the Kalamazoo Public Schools made it official Thursday night. Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 will be virtual, and not actual.

The original dates set for the graduation ceremonies were June 2nd, 3rd and 4th, for the three high schools (Central, Loy Norrix and Phoenix), but officials didn't say when the virtual version would happen.

It seems only appropriate that the announcement for the virtual graduation was made at an online school board meeting. KPS says students of the three schools were sent a phone message Thursday evening saying,

“​This was a hard decision, but ultimately the safety and welfare of our students and families is our number one priority. We know this is not the way any of you expected to end your high school experience, but we also know that you are a strong, resilient group of students who will use this experience to make our world a better place." - Kalamazoo Public Schools.

At the same time, KPS also added that students in the Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program are going to honored with a special video tribute. (According to the school system's website, "KILP is a new, free, alternative high school that will offer smaller class sizes with flexible scheduling and a significant online learning component.") KPS says KILP's focus is even less traditional than Phoenix High School, and it's focus is "those students who need to focus on credit recovery."

While it probably doesn't make up for the disappointment for some students, and more for parents, KPS says it is trying to spotlight the graduates on the individual schools' social media, and is also encouraging businesses with marquees, to congratulate the graduates.

This disappointment also highlights the two extremes that Kalamazoo Central High School has experienced in span of a decade. In 2010, Kalamazoo Central won a contest, and had President Barack Obama deliver their commencement, and now with the Covid-19 pandemic, the cancellation of the actual ceremony.

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