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Aztec, Vista Nueva high schools prepare for graduation amid coronavirus pandemic

Dates for ceremonies approved by school board

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Aztec High School will have its graduation ceremony on May 22 and Vista Nueva High School's ceremony will be June 20.

AZTEC — High school graduation ceremonies in Aztec will look a little different this year.

The Aztec Municipal Schools Board of Education approved a May 22 ceremony for Aztec High School and a June 20 celebration for Vista Nueva High School.

The school board had a special work session on May 4 to discuss the proposals for graduation. The meeting can be viewed on the Aztec Schools Facebook page.

Aztec High School seniors will not have the traditional commencement. Principal Warman Hall explained that the commencement ceremony means school and district staff members are certifying that the students have met all the requirements needed to graduate. However, this year the COVID-19 pandemic means students have longer to finish those requirements. Some of the students who will participate in the May 22 ceremony will not have completed their graduation requirements but will still be on track to graduate.

As in the past, the ceremony will take place at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium, located at C.V. Koogler Middle School. There will be video streaming from the stadium.

“The point of doing this part of it is to have something that the public, family, friends can remotely listen to on a broadcast," Hall said.

The school district is taking measures to comply with social distancing. This means the Class of 2020 will participate in a vehicle parade that will end at the stadium. A small number of family members can join them in the car. The students will remain in their vehicles except when receiving their diploma covers. There will be photo opportunities and a photographer will be present. Once the seniors have met their graduation requirements, a diploma will be mailed to them.

The celebration will be broadcast or streamed so all members of the community can celebrate the Class of 2020.

Aztec High School will distribute graduation supplies like caps and gowns on May 14 and 15. A digital senior awards recognition ceremony is planned for May 22 and will be broadcast. The awards will then be mailed to the seniors.

Meanwhile, Vista Nueva High School Principal Rocky Torres said the small size of the graduating class will allow the school to have a more traditional ceremony on June 20. This ceremony could even be held indoors, depending on what the state’s guidelines are in June. Social distancing measures will be in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Torres said he has not gotten push back from students or parents about waiting until June for a graduation ceremony.

"They’re all pretty understanding at this point of the situation," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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