By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent
Principal Cindy Bessire has announced the Muleshoe High School graduation ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, May 15, at Benny Douglas Stadium.
Seventy-six members of the class of 2020 will march to their places to recorded music in view of family members and friends.
Muleshoe administrators planned the graduation following Texas Education Agency recommended guidelines.
Each graduate is allowed to have four guests. Guests are required to undergo a health screening over the phone. Follow-up calls will also be made so that guests can report any changes in symptoms before the ceremony. EMS personnel will be available for emergencies.
All guests must wear masks. Families of four will sit together, and will be staggered at six-foot intervals from other groups. Anti-bacterial soap will be provided. Graduates will be handed their diplomas by Bessire, Superintendent Dr. R.L. Richards and a school board member, all of whom will be wearing gloves.
Graduates will be wearing caps and gowns, but may not throw their hats following the ceremony.
The graduation was scheduled with an eye to the weather, which is expected to be a sunny 70 degrees. The 10 a.m. start time will prevent guests from having the sun in their eyes.
Speakers will include Mercedes Manzanales, valedictorian, Maria Campos-Gomez, salutatorian, Bessire, Richards and Curtis Preston, Board of Trustees president.
Graduates will receive the scholarship awards they normally would have received at the MHS Awards Banquet.
The ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook. Gabby Perez will take photos of the graduates with their diplomas, and Gil Lamb will tape the full graduation so that families can watch it on CD.
TEA issued “Guidance for Graduation and End-of-Year Promotion Ceremonies During COVID-19” on May 5. The document states: “Between May 15 and May 31, 2020, an outdoor ceremony may take place in a rural county that has an attestation as described in the ‘Texans Helping Texans: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas’ (April 27, 2020) that remains in effect 7 days prior to the ceremony. An outdoor ceremony may take place in any county on or after June 1.” Bessire spoke with Texas Education Commission Mike Morath on Tuesday. On Thursday, Bessire met with local government authorities on Google Hangouts.
“We talked and tweaked and got it approved,” Bessire said.
Muleshoe staff started calling and screening families Tuesday.
“The families have been great. They’ve been very understanding, and I’m thankful,” Bessire said. “This is the best of a traditional graduation we could do.”