July 23, 2020 Graduation Details


    Please read this email carefully from start to finish. Remember, you will NOT have a graduation rehearsal. We have tried to include everything you need to know to make this a safe and memorable event. We’re excited to celebrate the Class of 2020 this Thursday, July 23, on Haddorff Field at Mound Westonka High School!

    Graduates-Only Event: Due to state regulations on large group gatherings, only graduates and the limited staff working the event will be allowed on school grounds for graduation on Thursday, July 23. Parents, family members and friends will be able to enjoy the ceremony from home via a professional livestream (see section below for details). Graduates will be leaving campus immediately following the ceremony to celebrate this important rite of passage with family and friends at home.

    • Grads Drive Themselves: If possible, we ask that all graduates drive themselves to Mound Westonka High School for the graduation ceremony, as opposed to being dropped off. This will allow graduates to wait safely in their vehicles until it is time to line up and exit the school grounds in a timely manner following the ceremony. If graduates need to be dropped off, they should be dropped at the MWHS east entrance (courtyard), and their rides will be asked to immediately exit the parking lot and leave the school grounds.

    Required Health Screening: All graduates and staff must complete a COVID-19 self-screening the morning of graduation, July 23. CRITICALLY IMPORTANT: If you answer “Yes” to any of the self-screening questions, you MUST participate in the event virtually via the livestream links found below. Do not come to the school grounds if you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or have any COVID-19 symptoms, as outlined by the CDC.

    Strict Social Distancing: 6 feet of social distancing will be strictly enforced at all times while graduates are on school grounds. Students will not be permitted to congregate or take group photos, even if all parties are masked, at any time while on campus.

    Mask Up, White Hawks! For the health and safety of everyone involved, graduates are STRONGLY encouraged to wear cloth face masks at all times while on school grounds. A cloth mask will be provided to each graduate upon arrival at MWHS, but you are welcome to wear your own cloth mask. We would absolutely hate for this positive experience to have a negative health impact on our community, so please mask up to keep everyone safe! [Safe Mask Wearing PDF]

    Check-In Time: Check in will begin at 5:45 p.m. at Mound Westonka High School. Please arrive between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. Graduates may enter the parking lot through the main entrance or by the tennis courts. As you approach the entrances, please drive slowly and watch for staff directing traffic. You will be given a face mask and a reminder of your line-up location (i.e., number corresponding with the map linked below) upon arrival.

    • What to Bring:
      • Wear your cap and gown and make sure you have everything given to you at cap/gown distribution (i.e., tassel, chords, cap, gown, stole). Double check that you have everything - we do not have extras!
      • Dress for the weather. It’s summer in Minnesota and it’s going to be hot. Make sure to wear comfortable, cool clothing under your gown.
      • We will provide you with a cloth mask at check-in, but you are welcome to bring your own.
      • You will receive a piece of paper with your line-up number at check in. Please bring that paper with you when you line up. There will be a spot for you to leave this paper outside the stadium, so you will not have to worry about it being in your hands for the ceremony.
    • What NOT to Bring:
      • Grads are not permitted to bring a water bottle or any other beverage into the ceremony. You will have a water bottle waiting on your chair inside Haddorff Field. The ceremony will last one hour or less.
      • With the exception of car keys and cell phones, graduates cannot bring anything with them into the ceremony.

    Line-Up Time: Graduates will exit their vehicles at 6:15 p.m. and line up on assigned numbers (included in map linked below and also distributed at check-in) on the sidewalk around MWHS. All graduates MUST be standing on their assigned number at 6:20 p.m. for an attendance check. If you are not on your number at 6:20, we will assume you are participating virtually and your name will not be read along with the other in-person participants. Please review the Graduates Line-Up Map to see roughly where you will line up.

    Ceremony Start Time: Staff will direct graduates to make their way into Haddorff Field starting slightly before 6:30 p.m. The livestream of the ceremony is set to start at 6:30 p.m. Graduates will be ushered into seats set up on the field. It will be important that graduates stay in the order in which they lined up and remain socially distanced.

    Dismissal: Graduates will be dismissed by row from Haddorff Field. Upon exiting the stadium, they will stop at a table to pick up an envelope containing their actual diploma and an extra program, as well as their senior gift (courtesy of the MWHS Senior Planning Committee). All graduates will be asked to return to their vehicles and exit the school grounds immediately following the ceremony. Again, for the health and safety of our community, graduates are not allowed to congregate or take group photos while on campus. Graduates needing to be picked up from the ceremony will wait in the courtyard area by the east entrance of MWHS.


    Celebration for ALL Graduates: We know that some of our graduates are unable to attend the ceremony on July 23 or feel more comfortable participating virtually. Please know that the names of ALL graduates will be announced during the livestreamed ceremony (which will also be recorded to watch at a later time) so that the entire Class of 2020 can graduate together, regardless of location. Names of graduates participating virtually will be announced at the end of the in-person diploma distribution. We will contact graduates not in attendance about the best way to get them their diplomas.

    Ceremony Program: Here is a PDF copy of the ceremony program for all those participating virtually: Graduation Program 2020. Graduates attending the ceremony in person will receive a copy of the program to use during the ceremony, as well as a fresh copy to bring home to their families.

    Livestream Links: We are excited to be able to share the live graduation ceremony with friends and family watching from home or from wherever they are in the world. The ceremony will be professionally livestreamed starting at 6:30 p.m. to the Westonka Public Schools YouTube channel and embedded on the Westonka Schools website.

    Professional Photography: We are excited that we will have two professional photographers as well as amateur staff photographers at this event to capture special memories for our graduates and families. Lifetouch has generously donated their services for the ceremony and will be sharing digital photos with all families free of charge following the event. We will send out photo links to all families when they are available and also post them to our MWHS website, www.westonka.k12.mn.us/grad2020


    Weather-Related Cancellation: In the event of inclement weather, MWHS will move forward with a live premiere of a pre-produced virtual ceremony and a drive-thru diploma distribution. The decision of whether or not the live ceremony will be held will be made by 10 a.m. on graduation day (Thursday, July 23), and families will be notified of a cancellation by voice message and email.

    Pre-Recorded Virtual Celebration: In the event of inclement weather, a pre-recorded virtual graduation celebration will premiere at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, on the district’s YouTube channel and the Mound Westonka High School Facebook page. Direct links to the virtual ceremony will be shared with all families via email.

    Drive-Thru Diploma Distribution: If weather forces the cancellation of the in-person graduation ceremony, MWHS will hold a drive-thru diploma distribution during which graduates will have their names read, will walk across a covered stage to receive their diplomas and will have professional photos taken. Family members and friends will be allowed to watch this rite of passage from their vehicles. The timing of the diploma distribution will depend on the weather and will be communicated with families at the time of the weather-related cancellation announcement.

    Required Health Screening: All graduates and staff must complete a COVID-19 self-screening prior to the drive-thru diploma distribution. CRITICALLY IMPORTANT: If you answer “Yes” to any of the self-screening questions, stay home and do not come to the school grounds.

    We are excited to celebrate the Class of 2020!

    Mark McIlmoyle
    MWHS Principal
    (952) 491-8101