U-High graduation to be online in June, potentially in-person in November


Alexandra Ingrassia

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, U-High class of 1990, speaks at the graduation of the class of 2017 in Rockefeller Chapel. Dr. Wesley will be returning to speak at the class of 2020 virtual graduation June 11.

Nicky Edwards-Levin, Sports Editor

An online graduation ceremony will take place Thursday, June 11, at 2:30 p.m after all, but this one will be on YouTube Premium, and, if public health guidelines permit, an in-person ceremony may occur on Thanksgiving weekend in November, according to an email sent to U-High seniors and parents May 1. The location, date and time for such an event have not been determined.

Seniors will receive various graduation mementos, including their mortar board, tassel and gown, a yard/window sign, a senior T-shirt and the letter they wrote to their senior-selves when they were on ninth grade retreat. 

To receive these mementos, students or parents may arrive at Blaine steps — 1362 E. 59th St. — by car on 59th Street May 15 between 3 and 6 p.m.. They must remain in their vehicle and wear a mask. If any family is uncomfortable or unable to collect their mementos in-person, they may submit an email to Dean of Students Ana Campos by May 12 requesting the items to be shipped to their home.

We prioritize the health of our community above everything else, so this is a decision that needed to be made.

— Donna Tong, Senior Class President

For U-High’s online graduation ceremony, Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, a 1990 U-High graduate, will give the commencement address via YouTube Live. Dr. Wesley visited campus as the high school’s alumni speaker in 2016 and gave the graduation speech in 2017.

On April 30, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago will host its first-ever virtual graduation for the Class of 2020 in mid-June. The ceremony will be open to seniors at all of the city’s high schools, public and private, and Oprah Winfrey will be the featured speaker along with other performers. 

According to Senior Class President Donna Tong, the decision to cancel U-High’s in-person graduation, while disappointing, was necessary.

“We prioritize the health of our community above everything else, so this is a decision that needed to be made,” Donna wrote in an email to the Midway. “Of course, we are working hard to make sure an online graduation is as fulfilling and exciting as possible, because that’s what my classmates deserve.”