MPS shares district's virtual commencement plans for graduating seniors: 'We salute the class of 2020'

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) announced its plans on Monday, May 11 to celebrate the districts graduating seniors with virtual commencement ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Those ceremonies will be available on the MPS YouTube page from June 1 through June 5 at the following times each day: 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

Keith Posley

"We salute the class of 2020," said MPS Superintendent Keith Posley, speaking outside Milwaukee's Riverside University High School. "We recognize their hard work through the pandemic and their maturity as well as their dignity -- and all the wonderful things as to how they handled this moment."

Posley indicated this is a special class of graduating seniors -- one the district will not forget for some time.

Riverside University High School

"Our students have done some tremendous work this year. They're going off to some of the most prestigious universities around the country," Posley said.

MPS is planning a separate ceremony for students who will graduate after finishing summer school. It is supposed to take place on August 1. If it is safe, MPS will hold an in-person ceremony -- and every 2020 senior would have the opportunity to walk across the stage.

Meanwhile, MPS officials began the distribution of graduation materials to high school seniors and their families on Monday morning at their respective schools. To support our graduating seniors, MPS schools will give caps, gowns, diploma covers, yearbooks, and yard signs to students and families by drive-up and walk-up distribution.

Arlinda Yang

Riverside University High School valedictorian Arlinda Yang said this is not an ideal situation, but she will make the most of it.

"I'm still planning on wearing my cap and gown, all my cords, my stoles, and just maybe do a lap around the living room. I know my parents would be happy with that," Yang said.

All MPS school buildings are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.