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Posted: May 19, 2020

APS Announces Class of 2020 Virtual Commencements

The more traditional graduation ceremonies are scheduled for June 28.

 Albuquerque Public Schools acknowledges that it is highly unlikely the public health threat caused by the coronavirus will subside to allow for in-person graduations. Therefore, the district announced today plans to host virtual ceremonies on June 28, 2020, for all APS high schools who wish to participate.

The district held tight to hopes that the pandemic would reach a point where it would be safe again for limited public gatherings so the Class of 2020 could experience some version of a traditional commencement experience. The world is not there yet.

The virtual graduations will take place Sunday, June 28, at 2:30 p.m. and can be viewed from any location in the world via the internet. Exact details on where to find the virtual graduations will be shared soon.

The virtual graduations will follow traditional commencement ceremonies. The name of every graduate will be announced and accompanied by a personalized visual message. Student speeches will be delivered, and schools have the choice of including a graduation procession.

“Individual schools, students, staff, and families deserve praise for pivoting to adapt to an unprecedented graduation season,” said APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy. “This isn’t the high school graduation anyone had planned, but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt. I’m proud of our high school staff who made sure students were recognized at the campus level, and for everyone who made it a priority to reach out to our graduates and congratulate them for their achievements and resiliency.”

When New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham extended a public health order in April that closed schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, APS and school districts across the state had no choice but to postpone, cancel or schedule virtual graduation ceremonies. The public health threat is still a concern with crowd restrictions in place.

APS Senior Celebration Videos 

The videos are personalized for each of APS’s 13 comprehensive and 8 magnet high schools, mixing celebrity and politician shout outs with photographs and videos of students. The videos premiered at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 13. 

All 21 APS high school videos are posted to the APS Graduation website and YouTube

When New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham extended a public health order in April that closed schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, APS and school districts across the state had no choice but to postpone or cancel graduation ceremonies. While APS hasn’t given up hope of rescheduling some form of commencement during the summer, the district wanted to do something for seniors when graduation was initially planned in mid-May.

The APS Communications Office and high school activities directors came up with the idea of a Senior Celebration video titled, “An Exercise in Preparedness.” They extended invitations to take part in the video to celebrities and politicians with ties to Albuquerque. At least three of the positive messengers are APS graduates:

  • Actor Neil Patrick Harris, who graduated from La Cueva High School
  • Actor and Bernalillo County Commissioner (and former APS school board member) Steven Michael Quezada, who graduated from West Mesa High School
  • Singer Alex Stern, an Eldorado High School graduate who will sing the National Anthem in the video.

Gov. Lujan Grisham, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and New Mexico Education Secretary Ryan Stewart also sent uplifting message for seniors, as did Albuquerque native Alex Bregman, the all-star third baseman for the Houston Astros, and actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family fame, who went to St. Pius High School, and Bryan Cranston, whose popular TV series Breaking Bad was filmed in Albuquerque.

APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy provided the introductory message for the video, and APS Board of Education members will each make an appearance.

“One of the best parts of the superintendent’s job is seeing our students reach the pinnacle of high school graduation. I was especially looking forward to the Class of 2020 commencements, which would have been my last since I am retiring at the end of the school year,” Reedy said. “I am so glad that we have found a way to celebrate the hard work and promising futures of these students. They deserve the best, and we want to make sure their send-off is something special.”

Graduation Message from APS & The Board of Education 

“Dear 2020 Graduates, 

Your finals days of high school in the middle of a global pandemic were unprecedented. What you take from this experience is up to you.

Here’s hoping you choose gratitude for all who have helped you reach this pinnacle in your life, even during the most challenging of times.

Here’s hoping you choose camaraderie, joining the team of volunteers and professionals, neighbors and strangers who support each other, believe in one another, have faith in the future.

Here’s hoping you choose hope.

It’s amazing how so many in our community and around the world have come together in this time of crisis. You are part of that movement. It is now part of your foundation. Build on it, and you will go far.

Albuquerque Public Schools salutes the Graduating Class of 2020! Today is your day! Go move mountains! Get on your way!"