Lights on at Hammons to Honor Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation

HOPE — The stadium lights at Hammons Field on the Hope High School campus will burn throughout the day and night of May 8 to honor the HHS Class of 2020, the first class in school history to graduate virtually.

HHS Principal Bill Hoglund announced April 20 in a letter to graduating seniors how their unique graduation circumstances brought about by the closure of all public schools in Arkansas during the COVID-19 illness will be commemorated.

“We understand nothing can replace an in-person graduation ceremony, and dependent upon local and national mandates, we will continue to look into the possibility of bringing this class together in the future,” Hoglund wrote. “In the meantime, we still want to celebrate and honor the resilient Class of 2020.”

He said HHS will go online with a “live” professionally created YouTube broadcast on May 29 at 6 p.m. to honor the graduating class.

“The ceremony will include personalized content provided by each student who participates,” Hoglund said. “The ceremony will include the students’ cap and gown picture and a personal message delivered by the student if they choose to do so.”

Each student will be given the opportunity to download their personal segment across multiple social media platforms to provide to family and friends, he said.

Noted artist and HHS graduate Steven Walden, of St. Louis, will be the commencement speaker, Hoglund said.

The kick-off for the celebration online will be conducted in a drive-through at the HHS bus line in front of the MAC complex entrance on May 8 from 5-7 p.m. for delivery of diplomas, transcripts, graduate honor cords and other regalia typically involved in commencement exercises, he said.

Hoglund said a number of HHS teachers and staff will be on hand to pass out the items.

“Students should stay in their cars and have their names displayed on the passenger side window so we can pass the items to students inside their cars,” Hoglund said.

He encouraged students to decorate their cars for the occasion.

“You may decorate your cars and we look forward to seeing you,” Hoglund said. “The stadium lights will be on the day and night of May 8 in honor of the Class of 2020.”

He said emails will be sent to each senior student’s school email account to make certain of pronunciation of names and to provide other information about creating their personal online segment for the event.

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