HANNIBAL | As promised, Hannibal High School's seniors will have a graduation program. The Hannibal School District has scheduled the commencement for the class of 2020 on Friday, July 17.
The graduation program will begin at 8 p.m. in E.A. Porter Stadium. In the event of rain, rather than move the graduation indoors to Korf Gymnasium, it will be rescheduled to 8 p.m. Friday, July 24. Korf Gymnasium is slated to undergo some major renovations this summer.
Because of the uncertainty that has surrounded the COVID-19 virus, Superintendent Susan Johnson had been hesitant about setting a specific date for graduation.
“I would recommend not putting a date to that (graduation) because I think it would be premature,” she told school board members during their virtual meeting in April.
Since Gov. Mike Parson announced last month that public schools would remain closed to the end of the school year, Johnson has frequently been asked about graduation. The superintendent has repeatedly stated that HHS seniors would have a graduation if at all possible.
“I think that all of us (school board members and school district administrators) understand the importance of graduation,” she said last month. “We have every intent to have a graduation ceremony, but we just don't want to commit to do that until we know it is safe to do so.”
On Thursday, May 21, the day on which HHS graduation had been originally scheduled to take place, a graduation parade will instead occur.
“This will do good not just for our seniors and their families, but for the community as a whole,” Johnson told the Hannibal City Council during its May 5 meeting, when she sought and received permission to stage the parade.
The parade will commence at 6:30 p.m. the event will begin at the north end of the Hannibal Middle School parking lot. Vehicles will turn southeast onto Palmyra Road. The parade will continue southeast on Mark Twain Avenue. It will continue south on Third Street until Broadway, where the parade will turn west. The parade route will conclude at Grand Avenue.
“The community is invited to line the parade route to help recognize this tremendous accomplishment that our seniors have achieved,” Johnson said in a media release. Johnson urges seniors and spectators alike to exercise COVID-19 safety procedures during the event.
“The safety of our seniors and those supporters along the parade route is important so we urge everyone to maintain social distancing,” she said.