Class of 2020

Senior Letter, April 17, 2020
I hope this letter finds you well.  I realize you have a lot of questions and are wanting to know details of what is happening the rest of the year.  I have been in contact with a few of you who needed to complete some work to make sure all requirements for graduation were complete and we are pleased to announce that all seniors in the Class of 2020 will be receiving their high school diploma!  Awesome news!
Some of you may be wondering about grades.  All grades for second semester will be CR (Credit issued—this is in line with 98% of the high schools in Michigan) except for students enrolled in Baker College classes and completed online classes.  The “CR” will not negatively affect anyone’s high school gpa and ensures clarity for all concerned.
While it is impossible to design a commencement ceremony that will make everyone happy, we have worked hard to design an event that ensures compliance with social distancing requirements while honoring our graduating class.  The plan has been weeks in the making in order to create something special, which recognizes our graduates, and helps the Class of 2020 move through this milestone moment and onto their futures.  Some students are joining the military, leaving the state for college, technical schools, or jobs; so, bumping the ceremony to a nonspecific date in July or August didn’t maintain the ideal of having the Class of 2020 all together for a celebration of completion.  We will graduate our seniors on May 17. 
This plan is designed as the best way to maximize participation while following the social distancing rules currently in place.  Commencement for the class of 2020 will be held on May 17 at 2:00 p.m.   The format will be changed from the traditional format, but we will maintain specific moments, like speeches and a senior video.  This will be explained as you read, but the bottom line is, The Class of 2020 will be honored. 
Before we go into details, I would like to give a brief list of responsibilities and dates for seniors.  It is important to check your email or the school website/app on a regular basis to get more details and information.
Cap, Gown, and Tassel ordered:  Completed by April 24.  I sent out a Google form inquiring about whether you ordered a cap, gown, or tassel.  Please respond to that inquiry.  Cap, gowns, and tassels ordered are secured in the high school office and will be distributed on Saturday, May 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. unless you ordered online and have had everything sent to your home.
Senior decision day still will be May 4, 2020:  but will be in a slideshow format to be posted later.  Ms. Miltgen will be contacting you.  Please participate in this so we can get all senior’s future plans.
Senior Awards will still be May 6:  The plan is for me and possibly some other staff to run the program in the gym, announcing the recipients of the awards/scholarships and then distributing them either at commencement or May 9.  Some details are still pending.
Commencement will be May 17, 2020 at 2 pm.  Please plan on joining your classmates!  We will pre-record specific parts of the ceremony to maintain social distancing while still honoring the senior class.  This way we can have the ceremony taped and copied on a flash drive provided to you the day of graduation.  On May 17, at 2 pm will be the commencement at the high school in a parade format.  The name of each graduating senior will be announced.  Seniors and their families will be allowed in one private vehicle (parents and siblings) to line up down Pine River School Road to the north of the high school wrapping around to the west on 18 Mile Road.  At 2 pm, we will start the route into the high school and students, dressed in their attire can either stay in their vehicle or march in front of their vehicle once their vehicle has reached the high school parking lot.  Pomp and circumstance will be playing.  Teachers will be lined up on both sides of the drive and will be there to honor the graduates.  At this moment, we are trying to make sure the name of the graduate approaching for their diploma will appear on the marquee.  When the graduate reaches us, they will receive their diploma, class shirt, key drive with staged ceremony and senior video and a green or white balloon to be released.  A photographer will be there to take pictures and the entire ceremony will be taped.  [1] Graduating seniors will then park in the main lot until all seniors have parked and then will stand outside their vehicle until all seniors are assembled and then as a group will we will release the balloons.  Once the balloons have been released, the ceremony will be complete and folks will be asked to take a slow drive back to their community and home.  (Horn blowing is encouraged and expected at this moment! #goseniorclass #Bucks2020) 
Important Dates:
April 22:  Senior Shirts will be ordered
April 24:  Senior Picture must be turned in and cap and gown must be ordered
May 3: Senior Decision Day slides due (but please get them as soon as possible).  Please make sure you stay in contact with Ms. Miltgen so that you can share your video or photo for decision day.
May 6, 2020:  Senior Awards announced and taped.  Dates of mailing or to pick up physical copies of awards or plaques will be released as soon as we know more.
May 9, 2020:  Seniors will pick up belongings, cap/gown/tassel, and awards/certificates, and cords/sashes on May 9.  The time will be 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
May 17, 2020:  2:00 p.m. Parade-style graduation ceremony.  Further details, including time and places for line up, will be emailed to seniors soon and perhaps posted.  Please check your email, the school website/app frequently.
If you have any questions, please email me and CC Mrs. Curtis, Ms. Miltgen, Ms. MacLean, and Mrs. Lukshaitis. 
Brent Ruppert, Principal
Pine River Area High School