KWHS plans real-life graduation on June 19

Pomp & circumstance — in person

The school year ended virtually for students all over the world, but Key West High School graduates will celebrate in real life and real-time at an in-person graduation ceremony on June 19 at Tommy Roberts Memorial Stadium, school officials announced on Thursday, June 11.

The ceremony will look much different than it has in the past, but school officials were eager to give the Class of 2020 something more than a digital departure from high school, said retiring KWHS Principal Amber Archer Acevedo.

The class valedictorian and salutatorian will speak at the ceremony, along with Superintendent Mark Porter, who will pass the reins to incoming Superintendent Terri Axford next month.

The in-person graduation ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 19. A mandatory rehearsal will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at the stadium on Kennedy Drive and all students planning to participate must register here. 

“The graduation will be in a different format than normal and it is important that all students and guests read and follow all the guidelines outlined on the school’s website,” states the announcement from school officials. 

The CDC’s guidelines regarding social distancing and face masks will be strictly enforced at the rehearsal and the ceremony.

Those with underlying health conditions and/or over the age of 65 are urged NOT to attend this large gathering, the announcement states. Further restrictions include:

  • Graduates will sit in bleachers. 
  • Guests must bring their own folding chairs or blankets and will be seated on the field in groups of four. 
  • Guest groups are asked to arrive together using the four tickets provided to each graduate, so social distancing can be maintained between groups. 
  • Each graduate also received a buff in their “senior bags” to be used as a face covering. Graduates who have not picked up their red senior bags and/or diplomas, must do so between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the school office.
  • Tickets are required for entry, and no extra tickets are available.

“We understand this is not a normal ceremony, but we have done our best to give you a night with your classmates in your caps and gowns to close out your graduation festivities and high school endeavors, while still following necessary protocols,” school officials said.

Further instructions about wardrobe requirements under the graduation gowns are posted online


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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.