On Monday, April 27, the graduating class at Burbank High School picked up their caps and gowns for commencement, slated to be held online later in May.
According to Burbank High Principal Tom Crowther, 656 students, including those who also study via the Independent Learning Academy, will graduate BHS in 2020. More than 400 students stopped by the school, following social distancing protocols, to pick up pre-ordered caps and gowns. Crowther noted many students borrow an older sibling or friend’s graduation wear as well.
Faculty, staff and parents showed up and lined the streets around the school, to support the graduating class with signs and cheering.
“We were happy with the smooth process, and the fact that people honored the social distancing guidelines and safety procedures put in place,” said Crowther. “It was proof we could have a little fun, and stay safe.”
Crowther noted that school resource officer Dustin Rodriguez spent the whole day on site and that Athletic Department secretary and Cheer Coach Megan Burkhart “deserves a ton of credit for planning and executing the day from start to finish.”
“She cares so much about the students and it really shows in the way she took care of them during this,” he said.
Cars lined up beginning where Burbank Boulevard and Third Street meet. Cars were guided in a line into the parking garage, located at the corner of Third and Delaware.
Cap and gown pickup “worked well,” Crowther said. “Our vendor distributed and kept everyone at a distance. New orders pulled into parking spaces and waited to be seen from afar.”
“We took the safety of the students, parents and staff really seriously and folks noticed the attention to details on this,” he added. “I know JBHS had a similar plan that went well at their place on Tuesday.”
Across town, seniors at John Burroughs High School picked up their caps and gowns on Tuesday, April 28. Parents, teachers, staff and community supporters lined the streets around the high school, honking car horns and holding signs, wishing the soon-to-be graduates well.
“The high schools are working hard to give our seniors a virtual graduation in late May,” continued Crowther. “It is our goal to honor the original dates for each school. We are drilling down details as we speak and will share details over the next few days.”
“If the COVID-19 pandemic situation improves, BUSD hopes to hold a real time commencement later,” he added. “For now, we want to ensure that the virtual effort is special and that it will be a keepsake for our Class of 2020.”
“While nothing will replace losing Grad Nite, and other culminating events, we want this to be something that they look back on and see the effort made on their behalf,” Crowther also said. “This is a special group of students and they deserved better than this thing that had been put in motion.”
“They are mature enough to understand that all seniors are in the same boat, and also that there are bigger things happening globally. However, it still feels very personal for them. It is so unfortunate.”
“For Burbank High School, we are using Wednesday’s “BHS TV” broadcast to announce valedictorian and salutatorians to the school community. We are also providing samples and directions for how seniors will prepare a “senior video statement” for our virtual ceremony. Guidelines for this will go out all week, as our timeline is tight.”
“This senior class will always hold a special place in my heart as my first class as Principal at Burbank High School,” Crowther, who’s also known as “Dr. C” around campus, said. “So while I have a bias, I want them to know that this is a special group of young people. They are talented beyond belief and they will make a difference in this world.”
“Their legacy at BHS will not be defined by the last few months, but rather how they left their mark over four years and what they will do as an encore in life’s next chapter. We wish them well and much love.”