Kentucky School for the Deaf Class of 2020 graduates in a non-traditional ceremony

0
1138
  • Due to the severity of the COVID-19 emergency, schools across the Commonwealth not only canceled in-person classes, they also canceled in-person activities, including traditional graduation ceremonies.   
  • Toyah Robey, principal at KSD, and her staff wanted to find a way to honor their seniors and allow family members to be a part of this special moment.

By Jacob Perkins
Jacob.perkins@education.ky.gov

Twelve director’s chairs were placed in the parking lot of Thomas Gym on the campus of Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD).

These chairs – properly distanced – were to signify that the 2020 graduates of KSD are now the directors of their own lives.

All 172 Kentucky school districts, 53 area technology centers, the Kentucky School for the Blind and KSD ceased in-person classes and began instituting non-traditional instruction in response to a March 16 recommendation by Gov. Andy Beshear.

Due to the severity of the COVID-19 emergency, schools across the Commonwealth not only canceled in-person classes, but they also canceled in-person activities, which included traditional graduation ceremonies.

Principal Toyah Robey and the KSD staff wanted to find a way to honor their seniors and allow family members to be a part of this special moment.

Each senior was allowed to bring two vehicles to the event and KSD staff were invited but were required to RSVP in advance.

The ceremony began with a police escort through downtown Danville, where the community, retired staff and alumni cheered on the students. All of the cars were decorated to honor the graduating class.

Once they arrived on campus, students made their way to their director’s chair. All other family members and staff remained in their vehicles.

KSD worked alongside their local health department and followed guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education when planning this event.

“The positive feedback from our students, families, staff and special guests who attended the event was very special and all actually enjoyed it being outside,” said Robey. “We are grateful we were allowed to have this special time for our seniors.

“It was also so important for our staff to be able to see and celebrate them as well. KSD is family. Many of our students spend more time living on campus than they do with their families, as we are a residential school. We love our students and will miss these seniors tremendously.”

Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate Andrew Olson signs "I love you" during the school's graduation.
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate Andrew Olson signs “I love you” during the school’s graduation. The ceremony was held in the parking lot of Thomas Gym on the school’s campus.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate Layne Adkins poses for picture with her diploma.
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate Layne Adkins poses for picture with her diploma. Also pictured in the background at a safe social distance are Kentucky Board of Education Chair Lu Young, left, and Kentucky Department of Education Interim Commissioner Kevin C. Brown.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
Kentucky School for the Deaf Science teacher Brittany Voll watches from her car as her students graduate.
Kentucky School for the Deaf Science teacher Brittany Voll watches from her car as her students graduate. Staff from the school were invited to attend, but were asked to RSVP and were required to stay in their vehicles.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
Carolyn Gulley, an alumnus of the Kentucky School for the Deaf, celebrates the school's class of 2020 from her vehicle.
Carolyn Gulley, an alumnus of the Kentucky School for the Deaf, celebrates the school’s class of 2020 from her vehicle. The ceremony began with a police escort through downtown Danville where the community, retired staff and alumni cheered on the students.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate James David smiles for a picture during the school's graduation ceremony.
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate James David smiles for a picture during the school’s graduation ceremony. David is one of 12 of KSD’s 2020 graduating class.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate Joanna New smiles underneath a mask during her graduation ceremony.
Kentucky School for the Deaf graduate Joanna New smiles underneath a mask during her graduation ceremony. KSD consulted with their local health department and followed guidance provided by the Kentucky Department of Education to ensure the safety of all involved with the ceremony.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
Laura Sparrow, an elementary teacher at the Kentucky School for the Deaf, cheers on KSD's class of 2020.
Laura Sparrow, an elementary teacher at the Kentucky School for the Deaf, cheers on KSD’s class of 2020.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020
The 2020 graduating class from the Kentucky School for the Deaf gather around a flag pole during the school's non-traditional ceremony.
The 2020 graduating class from the Kentucky School for the Deaf gather around a flag pole during the school’s non-traditional ceremony. Due to the severity of the COVID-19 emergency, schools across the Commonwealth not only canceled in-person classes, but they also canceled in-person activities which included traditional graduation ceremonies.
Photo by Marvin Young, May 22, 2020

For more information about COVID-19:

LEAVE A REPLY