Tossing them in the air

TCU’s graduating class will have a virtual commencement this year, due to COVID-19, but the district has tentative plans for an in-person cap toss July 31. Pictured, the TCU class of 2019 tossed their caps in the air in the TCU High School auditorium last year. (News file photo)

Tri-City United High School’s senior class will graduate earlier than planned with the cap and gown distribution also happening sooner than expected.

TCU High School Principal Alan Fitterer informed parents and seniors of the decision to move up the TCU graduation date to Friday, May 29. The decision was made final after the Minnesota Department of Education announced students could pick up their caps and gowns on May 26 instead of June 1. Other high schools’ cap and gown orders were postponed to later in the summer, due to their later graduation dates, which allowed TCU’s order to move up.

The curbside pickup event at TCU High School allows students to retrieve their caps and gowns during one of two time slots: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26. Students are asked to drive separately and stay in their vehicles, but siblings and/or parents are invited to join their Titan senior.

The pickup event doubles as an opportunity for students to drop off their Chromebooks and any other materials that belong to the school. Assistant Principal Jeff Eppen sent seniors lists of everything they need to return as well as a map with entrance and exit points to the school for the pickup/dropoff occasion.

The graduation ceremony itself will follow social distancing guidelines and be recorded for a virtual final product. Each Titan senior and their family will have five minutes to enter the Performing Arts Center doors and then receive their diplomas and have pictures taken on stage.

By ensuring students have enough space between them as they accept their diplomas, the entire recording process will take an estimated 10 to 11 hours. The final video, which students will receive in the form of a flash drive, will contain senior speeches, advice from administrators, and a “Pomp and Circumstance” soundtrack. Parents and seniors will receive more information about the graduation day as it becomes available.

An in-person cap toss will tentatively take place July 31 in the bleachers by the football field, if government, public health and Minnesota Department of Education protocols allow. Social distancing would be enforced, and the cap toss would be included in the final graduation video. Updates on this plan will be communicated to parents and seniors in the next couple months.

“We at Tri-City United truly hope that these cap and gown and TCU High School graduation changes are happily accepted by our Titan senior class of 2020 and their parents/guardians,” Fitterer wrote in his May 15 email to parents. “We are doing our very best to honor and celebrate this incredible group of young people as each and everyone so deserves!”

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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