DANVILLE – Graduating Danville High School seniors will be celebrated with a month’s worth of activities that kicked off earlier this week.
Forty-four DHS staff members on Monday fanned out across Danville to help hand deliver DHS graduate yard signs to each graduating senior at their home.
“The kids were so excited, the parents were so excited, and we took their picture with the sign,” DHS Principal Tracy Cherry said.
“I had the opportunity to ride along when they were distributing the signs,” Board member Lon Henderson said Wednesday.
“Everyone had a big smile when their sign was delivered, except for one student who didn’t want to be woken up,” he joked.
The last day of school and remote learning is Tuesday, May 19, but the graduation activities for the Class of 2020 pick up again later in the week with the Viking Prize Patrol hitting the streets May 21 and 22.
“We always have a scholarship banquet around this time,” Cherry said. “This year, we are giving our scholarship recipients their awards. We will be at your home.”
To recognize the seniors who have earned scholarships, DHS staff and District 118 administration will roll up to each student’s home in a decorated DHS Viking van.
“We will be the Viking Prize Patrol, and we want them to feel like they’ve won a million dollars,” Cherry said. “We’re going to drive up to their house with balloons, and (DHS multimedia teacher) Kara Hile is going to make big checks that we will present to the students.”
On the evening of Friday, May 22, community members are asked to participate in a Shine on Seniors event by turning on their porch light from 8 to 8:20 p.m. The lights at DHS’ Ned V. Whitesell football field also will be lit during that time.
“We will be recognizing the Class of 2020 as well as all first responders, all essential workers, teachers and staff,” Cherry said.
A Swag Bag Parade will take place between 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at the high school. That day is when graduation originally was supposed to take place.
Graduating seniors will drive along Jackson Street on the west side of DHS where administrators will hand each student a swag bag. DHS staff will line both sides of the street and will be spread out along the sidewalk to maintain social distancing. Each senior swag bag will contain a T-shirt, DHS blanket, DHS cup, yearbook and a DHS newspaper.
“Just drive by, stay in your cars, and staff will be out there to celebrate the seniors,” Cherry said. “Every senior will receive a senior swag bag.”
The fun activities will culminate with a virtual graduation that will be taped on May 26, 27 and 28.
Groups of 10 graduating seniors, wearing their caps and gowns, will arrive in 40-minute intervals at the high school. The graduates’ names will be announced as they walk across the stage in the Dick Van Dyke Auditorium to be presented with their diploma.
A photo will be taken and then the graduates will continue to walk out of the building and to their cars. The graduates will be the only people allowed in the building.
“We will videotape them picking up their diploma and walking across the stage,” Cherry explained. “We will have a videographer film it and put it together.”
A video of the graduation ceremony will be posted on District 118’s website and Facebook page starting June 13.
A final senior social event, such as a picnic or other event to celebrate the Class of 2020, will be planned later so that the seniors can sign yearbooks.
Cherry said, “Next year we plan to invite the Class of 2020 to Homecoming and celebrate them during the start of the game, and to participate at Prom 2021 free of charge.”