Baker School District 5J

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Plan for 2020 Commencement & Senior Activities

Due to the current COVID-19 school closure across the state of Oregon, many of our time-honored ceremonies intended to celebrate the achievements of our graduating seniors can no longer be conducted in the traditional manner.  Therefore, the administration, school staff, and ASB officers have collaborated with local government officials and our senior parent group to organize alternative activities to celebrate our graduates.  


Input was gathered from multiple stakeholder groups, including a survey of the senior class, to determine how to move forward with these alternative activities.  Some logistical details are still in development, but the overall plan is as follows:  


Current plan for 2020 Commencement


What: Drive-Thru Graduation with city-wide procession in vehicles

Where: Baker High School and Downtown Baker City

When: Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 2p.m.

  • Graduates, in vehicles with their families, gather in a staging area at Baker Sports Complex parking lot, then proceed South on 5th Street to the bus lane if front of BHS to be awarded diploma in cars.  To ensure safety and avoid distracted driving, we will be asking parents or guardians to drive the vehicles.
  • Graduates will wear caps/gowns/cords/medals; vehicles may be decorated; one vehicle per graduate.  Graduates are expected to be seated in the passenger side of the vehicle.
  • BHS & BTI staff members will be encouraged to line the front sidewalk to greet and congratulate students as they drive by.
  • Once vehicles pass through the bus lane to receive their diplomas, the vehicles will gather in the student parking lot to prepare for a parade through town.
  • Local government and emergency personnel agencies will lead and escort the processional along the route through town and manage social distancing.
  • Diploma presentations at BHS will be live-streamed on the internet and recorded for posting at a later date.
  • Valedictorian and keynote speeches will be pre-recorded with Elkhorn Media and posted online for viewing during the parade. 

Other Senior End of the Year Activities:

  1. Athletic Facility Lights – For the past several weeks, Athletic Director Buell Gonzales, Jr. has coordinated with local emergency services personnel to light selected athletics facilities at 8:20 (2020 military time) each Friday night. This coming Friday will be the last event in this series. This entire effort is a way of honoring our student-athletes and recognizing the spring season that has been lost to COVID-19 closures. 
  2. Caps & Gowns Pick-up – Seniors will be able to pick up caps, gowns and yearbooks using a drive-thru process in the student parking lot on Wednesday, June 3.  In addition, we will be collecting Chromebooks from those seniors who still have them.
  3. Senior Yard Signs – Signs honoring 2020 BHS seniors are being created in the District Print Shop.  These signs will be placed on front lawns of senior students.  We are currently conducting a survey to determine if any of our senior families wish to opt out of this recognition.  
  4. Downtown Business Displays – Our senior parent group is in the process of creating photographic signs celebrating graduates.  These signs will be displayed at downtown businesses and will feature the student’s yearbook photos.
  5. Senior Honor Walk alternatives – Seniors are volunteering to create a video, dressed in their caps and gowns where they will provide advice to Baker School District students.  This video will be recorded and sent to the feeder schools for potential broadcast release.
  6. Senior Awards Night – This event will be pre-recorded with school and district personnel announcing the recipients of scholarships and other awards.  The recording will be posted to variety of social media and websites on the regularly scheduled date of Wednesday, May 27.
  7. Senior (Virtual) Assembly – A virtual assembly is being organized for our seniors to take place on June 3.  This event will be livestreamed and recorded, and it will include the traditional Senior Slideshow that is created by our Yearbook staff.



Frequently Asked Questions:

    1. WHEN will we get our caps/gowns, and HOW will we get them?

Caps/gowns/tassels have arrived at BHS.  The pick-up date will be Wednesday, June 3rd.  We will conduct a drive-thru pick-up in the bus lane at the front of the high school.  More details for times will be posted when we get closer to the pick-up date.

    1. HOW will we get our yearbooks?

Yearbooks will be available for pick-up, along with the caps/gowns, on Wednesday, June 3rd.

    1. Is there a Senior Awards Ceremony/presentation?

The traditional evening Senior Awards Ceremony has been cancelled.  District staff will be recording a Virtual Senior Awards Ceremony and posting that online on Wednesday, May 27. We will be publishing a souvenir program for seniors.


    1. What about our Senior Grad Night Party?

The traditional senior grad night party is cancelled.  However, our senior parent group is planning on hosting a Virtual Senior Party on the evening of Commencement.  Any prizes and gifts that seniors receive will be available for pick-up at the front of BHS on the morning of Monday, June 8.


    1. How do we pay for Senior fees?

Once refunds have been calculated, seniors and their parents will receive a statement in the mail for any balance owed the school. It is important to make sure you’ve returned all books or other school equipment to avoid additional fees on your account. This statement should arrive sometime in May.