Fulton school district honors 246 grads in annual commencement (copy)

In this June 25, 2017 file photo, members of G. Ray Bodley High School's 2017 graduating class celebrate during their "traditional" graduation ceremony. Fulton City School District officials this month unveiled their intentions to give 2021 graduates a similar ceremony while abiding by current state Department of Health directives.

FULTON — Fulton City School District officials have announced the details regarding the upcoming graduation ceremonies sending off more than 200 graduates.

According to district officials, there will be eight separate ceremonies over the course of two days on Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19.

There will be six drive-up ceremonies June 18, mirroring last year’s graduation, and two “traditional” commencement ceremonies on June 19, according to FCSD Superintendent Brian Pulvino.

“These are great opportunities for our students, and I am glad we can have larger ceremonies than we did last year at this time,” Pulvino said. “We are moving in the right direction and that is good for our students and our families.”

On Friday, June 18, between 6-7:30 p.m., the district will hold six separate drive-up ceremonies that will seem familiar to staff and families who attended the 2020 commencement.

“We will have 10- to 15-minute ceremonies with 10 graduates at a time in front of G. Ray Bodley,” Pulvino said. “We will have the stage set up and that will really allow you to bring up carloads of spectators to observe.”

Families were sent surveys on June 3 and responded with which ceremony their graduate wanted to attend and their choice of time slot.

According to district officials, families and seniors will drive up for their time slot and join a caravan of vehicles to the front of the high school. As students arrive in front of the building, they will then walk onto a decorated stage, receive their diploma, then get a picture from a professional photographer and officially graduate.

Parents and spectators will be restricted to watching from their vehicles and will not be allowed to leave their vehicles. Onlookers are asked to park diagonally to the building to get the best view.

“Our drive-up ceremonies worked out really well last year,” Pulvino said.

The drive-up ceremonies give families the chance to have more spectators at the ceremony.

Pulvino said the drive-up commencement would not have any speeches to keep in line with last year’s ceremony and to keep the allotted time slots for the graduates in order.

Attending families are restricted to only two vehicle loads, Pulvino said, noting that approximately 60 graduates signed up for the drive-up ceremonies.

The remaining students signed up for one of the two traditional June 19 ceremonies set for 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

During these ceremonies, graduates are allowed up to four spectators seated in small “clusters” throughout the district’s athletic complex to keep in line with current state Department of Health (DOH) graduation guidelines, according to Pulvino.

“We have to follow all guidelines as defined by the New York State DOH,” Pulvino said.

The current DOH guidelines — released on April 27 — state that attendees will need to go through a health screening, wear appropriate face coverings, and abide by proper social distancing protocols.

Pulvino said students that signed up for their respective graduation ceremony could not switch to the alternative and are locked into the event they chose.

All of the graduation ceremonies will be live streamed and accessible on the district’s YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.fultoncsd.org.

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