New information for WYHS Class of 2020 diploma ceremony and virtual commencement

May 24, 2020

Dear Seniors Class of 2020 and Families,

We have an exciting update to share with you regarding our graduation plans. Superintendent Hamler and I met with public health officials after Governor DeWine’s recent announcements. Under the guidance of public health officials, and the Ohio Department of Education, we have shifted our graduation plans from a drive-through diploma pick-up, to a single family in-person graduation ceremony that allows graduates to cross the stage in the auditorium of the school to receive their diploma. Our updated graduation ceremony plans are both personal, and safe following the respective mandates and guidelines. This ceremony will remain as scheduled on Saturday, May 30th, on the original graduation date. The participation in this event is optional for students and their families.

Each graduate will have a designated appointment time which will be communicated via student email accounts, and phone calls from WYHS staff members. These phone calls will be made on Tuesday, May 26.  

Single Family In-Person Graduation Ceremony Details: Saturday, May 30th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • There will be School Resource Officer(s) present to reinforce guidelines with social distancing
  • Each graduate will be given a designated appointment time. Graduates cannot arrive more than 5
    minutes early, or 5 minutes late. If the graduate is more than 5 minutes late they will not be permitted
    to participate in the ceremony.
  • Temperatures will be taken using a non-contact thermometer.
  • Social distancing would be maintained inside and outside of the building.
  • Only one vehicle is allowed per graduate.
  • Seniors allowed no more than 4 guests from their immediate family to accompany them.
  • Every member in the vehicle is strongly encouraged to be wearing a mask.
  • Graduates must be dressed in cap and gown, or is dressed nicely.
  • When the vehicle first arrives to the main entrance, graduates will be directed to the back of the building
    where they approach designated parking spaces.
  • A staff member will approach the vehicle to check-in the graduate.
  • The graduate and 4 guests must remain in the vehicle until a staff member has announced it’s their turn
    to enter the building.
  • The graduate and 4 guests will enter the building, then the auditorium.
  • The graduate will walk across the stage and receive their diploma as their name is announced and take a
    professional graduate photo.
  • The graduate and 4 guests will then immediately exit the auditorium and building following the exit
  • The graduate may take off the mask for the purpose of the photo, and immediately get back into the
    vehicle and proceed toward the exit.
  • Graduates who do not participate will have their diploma mailed to them. 

Virtual Commencement Ceremony Details: Saturday, June 6th, 10:00 am

  • Pre-recordings, and media will be compiled into a memorable “movie” and into a virtual commencement ceremony with a program similar to a traditional commencement ceremony.
  • Pre-recorded speeches from the valedictorian, and salutatorian, keynote speaker, a message from a senior, and a message from the principal.
  • Uploaded images of the photographs taken from the drive-through diploma ceremony, and each graduate’s name will be announced as the photos are displayed.
  • An invitation/link will be sent to graduates and families to the online platform where the virtual commencement will be able to stream 10:00 am.
  • Additional creative elements will be included with a variety of media, including music.
  • After the initial streaming, the virtual commencement will be available to download.


Seniors, we sincerely wish we could provide you with all the graduation festivities you have looked forward to for quite some time. Though these celebrations are not a part of the original plan and are unconventional, they still mark the incredible accomplishment of earning a high school diploma, and we hope the few moments of celebration we can provide in the diploma ceremony will be memorable.

Despite these uncertain times, we have much to look forward to and celebrate during these next 30 days. It is my hope we can begin to shift gears from disappointment to excitement. You have worked so very hard for these moments. Please don’t choose to miss out on them just because they are not a part of the original plan. You will learn throughout your lives that so many things do not go as planned, and that’s ok. There are many lessons to be learned when this happens. You are Resilient Rams! So, as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you make (Rams) lemonade! 

I can’t wait to see you on the stage. Now, it’s time for the hype, join me in these celebrations. It’s the final countdown!

Kind Regards,

Crystal Johnson
Interim Principal
Whitehall-Yearling High School


Spanish version of Interim Principal Johnson's letter 

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