At its March 18 meeting, the Rockwood Board of Education approved graduation plans for seniors in the district’s four high schools.
Rockwood Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles has shared that there are certainly signs of hope as more people become eligible and receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but our community still needs to continue the use of universal precautions to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families.
"Last year’s ceremonies at the POWERplex STL worked out very well for our graduates and their families. We received a great deal of positive feedback, and we are pleased to share we will be holding outdoor ceremonies at that location again this year,” said Miles.
Graduates' families will be able to observe the ceremonies on large screens from the air-conditioned comfort of their vehicles, similar to a drive-in theater. During the graduation ceremonies, students will walk across the stage to accept diplomas while observing social distancing guidelines. Rockwood high school principals and district administrators have evaluated the safety measures, social-distancing regulations and St. Louis County Department of Public Health recommendations for our commencement ceremonies. This is a unique, creative approach to provide our seniors with a memorable graduation ceremony while adhering to health and safety guidelines.
Here is the updated schedule for Rockwood high school graduations, to be held at POWERplex STL (formerly known as the St. Louis Mills Mall in Hazelwood).
- Tuesday, June 1, Rockwood Summit High at 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 2, Lafayette High at 7 p.m.
- Thursday, June 3, Marquette High at 7 p.m.
- Friday, June 4, Eureka High at 7 p.m.
POWERplex STL is located at 5555 St. Louis Mills Blvd., Hazelwood, MO 63042.
"This innovative approach provides proper social distancing and an actual graduation ceremony for our graduates and their families," said Miles. "Rockwood is pleased to facilitate these events in a safe and responsible way for our deserving students and their families." ROCKWOOD COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES 2021 FAQs Q. How will the students be kept safe during pre-ceremony, graduation and post-ceremony?
A. All students will be given masks at check-in and will receive training upon arrival as to how to stay socially distant and follow all health and safety guidelines. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has worked with the POWERplex STL organizers to keep students in groups acceptable per guidelines, maintaining social distance (six feet apart) during the pre-service and ceremony seating. The audience will be protected by staying in their vehicles for the duration of the ceremony.Q. How will parents be able to hear the ceremony if they are seated in their cars?
A. The entire commencement ceremony will be broadcast over an FM transmitter to each car radio. You can control the volume of the HD signal and turn it up when your child crosses the stage.Q. How will all guests be able to see the ceremony?
A. The main 40x40-foot stage will be flanked by two 30-foot Jumbotrons. In addition, broadcast-quality cameras will be used to record the event, projecting to high-definition LED boards that are elevated and visible from anywhere on the parking lot. There are also two 16-foot video screens flanking the sides of the parking field for additional viewing opportunities. Q. If we have elderly or medically compromised family members who are not able to attend because of health concerns, how can they participate and enjoy the ceremony?
A. The entire ceremony will be livestreamed and schools will share the link with families in advance of the event. The graduation will also be available in its entirety on demand as well for later viewing and sharing.Q. Can I get out of my car to come take a picture of my child crossing the stage and receiving their diploma?
A No. We ask that you respect the social-distancing guidelines for your protection and the protection of others. We will have professional videographers and photographers capturing pictures and video of the graduates. These will be made available to all graduates.Q. Can I get out of my car and watch from the parking lot?
A. No. Again, the Health Department recommends that all spectators stay in their vehicles unless you need to use the restroom (located on the parking lot perimeter). It is critical that all health guidelines be followed for a safe graduation event. Rolling down windows or keeping your car running with air conditioning is permitted. Q. Will there be any charge for parking or admission to graduation?
A. No. Each family will have a set number of vehicle passes assigned to them for graduation. Any oversize vehicles (large SUVs/vans) are permitted but will be placed on the perimeter of the parking field to give smaller cars clear sightlines to the stage and video boards. Q. What time should we arrive?
A. Graduation will begin at 7 p.m.
Q. Is there an inclement weather plan?
- We recommend seniors ride with their parents/guardians.
- Seniors will need to arrive at 5:30 p.m.
- NOTE TO PARENTS/GUARDIANS: There are NO reserved parking spots. The parking lot will open at 5:30 p.m.
A. Yes, plans will be communicated should the need arise. We will be able to hold the ceremony if it is raining. However, if there is severe weather, the commencement ceremony will be postponed to the following week. Graduates do not need to bring an umbrella.Additional News for Seniors
Rockwood Summit, Lafayette, Marquette and Eureka high schools also plan to hold "Senior Salute Parades" on the following dates:
- Monday, May 24 - Lafayette High
- Tuesday, May 25 - Marquette High
- Thursday, May 27 - Eureka High
- Thursday, May 27 - Rockwood Summit High
Each high school will host a drive-through parade for staff and students to celebrate our graduates. Details will be provided by individual high schools.