Graduation to commence at amphitheater


Fara Wiles

Senior class throws caps into the air to end their graduation ceremony after Principal Claire LeBlanc announces them high school graduates.

Graduation for the class of 2021 will take place at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater on June 18. On April 27, the Virginia Beach School Board decided to hold graduation ceremonies at the amphitheater in order to have a ceremony with the entire graduating class for each school.

In early April, a survey was sent out to all seniors in Virginia Beach with two options to choose from that the School Board was considering. 

The division was considering two options for graduation 2021. One, have a graduation ceremony at the Amphitheater where all the graduates graduate together, similar to pre-COVID times. The other option was to have individual or small group graduations at the schools like we did in June 2020 for the class of 2020,” said counselor Joanna Buonviri.

The survey closed shortly before the School Board meeting where the decision was made. 

It was originally announced that each graduate would receive two to four tickets because the capacity limit was set at 2,000 people. However, Gov. Northam’s recent changes to health mitigations and capacity limits allowed them to increase the amount of tickets.

According to VBCPS, “with the [Virginia] governor’s recent changes to health and safety mitigations, [schools] are now able to seat more guests under the canopy of the amphitheater and allow six tickets per graduate. Seats will be marked in sets of six with some spacing between each set; guests of a graduate should plan to sit together within the same set of seats.”

The ceremony will still only be held under the amphitheater’s canopy and will be live-streamed for those unable to attend.

“The graduates would get limited guest tickets because they want to be able to have everyone under the roof and socially distanced. There was no plan to use the lawn of the amphitheater due to possible inclement weather,” said Buonviri.

“The school is planning a Senior Day…on June 11 where we will have different activities,” said class of 2021 Vice President Nina Dao. 

In place of the traditional scholarship assembly, the school will present “The Next Chapter: Celebrating the Triple E’s (Enrolled, Enlisted, Employed).” All seniors were sent a Google form to complete to detail their plans after graduation which will be featured in a slideshow presentation on June 11.

“The Awards Day Ceremony is planned to be [June 11] also, so make sure to fill out the form Mrs. Buonviri sent out, so everyone can celebrate your achievements with you,” said Dao.