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Hawaiʻi Public High Schools Announce Commencement Plans

Class of 2020 graduations will take place in parking lots, on TV and through the radio in May.


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When schools were closed for the rest of the school year, it was a big blow for the state’s more than 10,000 seniors. Many are celebrating spirit weeks by taking photos of themselves in their prom outfits at home and finding other virtual ways to mark their final days of high school.


Today, the state Department of Education released the schedule of public-school commencement ceremonies. Right now, most schools are opting for livestreaming ceremonies followed by a drive-thru diploma pickup. Some, including Farrington High School, will broadcast their virtual program, with submitted photos of students in caps and gowns, on KHON and other channels.


More specific plans are outlined on each school’s website. Roosevelt High School will allow graduates to mark the moment in person. Students are instructed to come in one at a time to the auditorium stage, pick up their diploma from a table, then turn their tassel. Two guests will also be allowed in to take a photo. All three must be wearing masks and then leave immediately to make way for the next family.


A letter to parents on Kapaʻa High School’s website outlines a tentative plan for a parade of graduates in their personal cars as they head to campus to pick up their diplomas. Pearl City High School is one of few that outlined plans for a drive-in theater-style program where seniors and a few guests can watch a livestream ceremony from their cars and pick up diplomas. Moanalua High School will do something similar, splitting graduates into groups for diploma distribution programs on three separate nights.


So far, ceremonies will start on May 15 with Campbell High School (which will livestream its program on KHII on cable TV, and KHON’s app and YouTube channel) and end with Nānākuli and Kapolei high schools’ virtual commencements on May 31. Kapolei’s program will also be livestreamed on KHON’s app and YouTube channel as well as ʻŌlelo Channel 49 and AM 990 on the radio.


You can find the full list of dates on hawaiipublicschools.org


Also announced Thursday, the state says that all driver’s licenses, permits and state ID cards set to expire between March 15 and May 31 will be valid for 90 days after May 31. The same goes for all safety check certificates and stickers with 2020 expiration dates. Motor vehicle registration fees, however, are still due on time.


Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday: three on Hawaiʻi Island, one on Maui and one is a Hawaiʻi resident who received a positive result outside of the state.



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