'Raven Rides' celebrate seniors

Sussex Technical High School will have multiple outdoor graduation ceremonies in order to allow seniors to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.

Sussex Tech’s Class of 2020 has 285 students. Four ceremonies will be held over two days in order to accommodate two guests per student. People can also watch from home via a livestream on Sussex Tech’s YouTube page.

Graduation details

Graduation ceremonies will be held at Raven Stadium in four sessions, on June 11 and 12, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., with students grouped by technical area:

June 11, 5 p.m.: health professions, dental services and media broadcasting June 11, 8 p.m.: digital publishing and design, business, finance and marketing, Cisco networking, carpentry, physical therapy – athletic health care June 12, 5 p.m.: criminal justice, early care and education, hospitality, cosmetology June 12, 8 p.m.: electrical, HVAC-R, collision repair, automotive technologies, environmental and landscaping

Anyone with a cough, high fever, shortness of breath or that been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days should not attend.

Seniors and their two guests are asked to arrive in a single vehicle an hour before the start of the ceremony. Those scheduled to attend the 8 p.m. ceremony will be allowed to enter the campus beginning at 7 p.m. Students and families must remain in their cars until instructed by a staff member.

Graduates must come fully dressed in their cap and gown. There will be no time or facilities available for appearance adjustments.

Parking passes are required. Two-household families who want to arrive in more than one vehicle will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis by submitting a request to the high school office.

Guests will be seated in the bleachers at appropriate distances and guests from the same household will be seated together. Children must be with a parent or guardian at all times. No one will be permitted to stand along the fence or park on Route 9.

Everyone aged 13 and up must wear a face masks. Children aged two and up are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering.

Restrooms will be available and sanitized every 15 minutes. All surfaces will be disinfected between ceremonies. Concessions will not be available and guests are encouraged to bring water.

At the end of the ceremony, students and guests will immediately go to their vehicles. There will be no congregating or group photo opportunities.

In the event of bad weather, the ceremonies will be held the next Thursday or Friday, June 18 and 19, at the same times. If a decision is made to reschedule, families will be called and notices will be posted on the school’s website and social media.

Other celebrations

Last week, Sussex Tech staff conducted mini-parades called “Raven Rides.”  They delivered caps, gowns, t-shirts and signs to seniors.

“Our seniors have overcome many obstacles this year, and we wanted to make sure they knew we’re thinking about them and rooting for them,” said Principal Dr. John Demby. “As a countywide district, with students from Selbyville to Greenwood, we just had to be a little creative.”

Organized by student activities supervisor Sherri Smith, teachers and staff split the county up into sections and caravanned to students’ homes in decorated vehicles, accompanied by music, cheers and, in one case, a bubble machine. Some technical area teachers delivered items to each and everyone one of their graduating seniors.

“This was a great event for everyone – students were excited to see their teachers, and our staff was energized by the seniors,” Smith said. “Even wearing face coverings and keeping six feet away, they knew that we miss them and will be cheering them on in their future successes.”

In the coming weeks, a senior video including highlights, photos and student and faculty speeches will be created. Seniors and their future plans are also being highlighted on social media.