2020 BDHS graduation going virtual

Understanding details of the ceremony


Brayton Mendenhall, Graduation Coordinator

Editor’s note: This statement was written by Ben Davis Graduation Coordinator, Brayton Mendenhall. For more information, watch the Virtual Graduation FAQ Mendenhall created at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShGi8jtKXKQ&t=1s

Though it is unfortunate that we cannot be together for the ceremony that the Class of 2020 has worked so hard for, Ms. Squire and the administration felt strongly that our students deserved some sort of ceremony or recognition on the scheduled day of graduation.  Many families had already made plans to attend the ceremony on June 5, so we want to honor those plans, even if it is not in the way that was originally planned.

It is important to know that this virtual ceremony does not mean that we won’t honor graduates once the state lifts restrictions; it is a way of continuing to honor our commitment to celebrating students on the day of graduation.  Once restrictions on gatherings are lifted, the school will look at possible ways of celebrating the Class of 2020 all together again.

So, here are some important things for students and families to know leading up to the virtual ceremony.

  • Checking school email is crucial.  Students have received an email from MarchingOrder which invites them to set up their account profile.  This is a valid email, and should not be seen as spam.
  • Students will provide some basic information about themselves, a written message to their friends and community, and a picture before May 15.
  • Those students who have ordered caps and gowns through Herff Jones will be receiving those orders before May 12.  Therefore, we are encouraging students to upload a picture in their cap and gown. Given the uniqueness of our situation and the logistical difficulties of dispersing and collecting rental gowns, the school administration believed that students should have robes that they can keep, so families will be able to keep this year’s cap and gown.
  • After saving their MarchingOrder profiles, students will be contacted by StageClip to upload a video message to their friends in the Class of 2020.  This video will be formatted into an e-gift from StageClip that can be shared on students’ social media platforms.

The night of June 5, at 7:30 PM, StageClip will broadcast our ceremony on YouTube.  A link to the ceremony will be sent to students and families via email and ParentSquare.  It will also be available on the Ben Davis High School website.  During the ceremony, we will have speeches by the Class of 2020 Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and Class President.  Mr. Tom Hayes, Ben Davis Teacher of the Year, and Dr. Butts will also address the class.

After our regular speeches, the processional portion of our ceremony will begin.  Students names will be read as an individual slide honoring every graduate is shown.  Each slide contains the picture they uploaded, their personal message, and any honors or awards they have earned during their time at Ben Davis.

Finally, the ceremony will end with Mahlet Gebremeskel, Class President, leading the traditional tassel turning ceremony.

We know that this cannot replace the ceremony that everyone was looking forward to, but it will follow the format of our traditional graduation as closely as possible.  We hope that this virtual graduation will be a way for the Wayne Township community to come together at one time, but in separate places, to honor the work of the Class of 2020.