LIHU‘E — Nearly 700 students from the three public high schools will be celebrating their educational milestone May 21 when graduation exercises take place for Kaua‘i, Kapa‘a and Waimea.
“We are so proud of our Class of 2021 graduates for their scholarship, student leadership and resilience during this very difficult COVID-19 period,” state Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said in the DOE graduation announcement.
“Our high schools across the islands have been working with graduates, parents and families to plan the best possible celebrations while adhering to social-distancing requirements and other health and safety guidelines. We thank our school communities and partners who have been working to make these events truly special.”
This is the highlight of the graduation season on Kaua‘i that starts Friday when Kaua‘i Community College celebrates commencement exercises when its students receive their appropriate degrees, awards and certificates. The private and public charter schools also have their own graduation ceremonies, joining the number of other schools, including elementary schools and nursery schools.
Operating under the COVID-19 pandemic health and safety rules and the recently-invoked Tier 3 rules, graduation will take place with limited attendance and heavy dependence on live streams.
At KCC, commencement will be a drive-thru ceremony with the college’s Marketing Department doing photographs of graduates and their households in front of their parked vehicles in the Daniel K. Inouye Electronics Building parking lot, states a release from the University of Hawai‘i with information that was updated on May 5.
All participants must wear face coverings and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from other participants.
Once the ceremony starts, graduates will drive to the front of the KCC Performing Arts Center and remain in their vehicles while receiving their degrees, awards and certificates from Chancellor Joseph Daisy.
The DOE announced the graduation-alternative ceremonies for Kaua‘i’s Class of 2021 that limit guest access in compliance with COVID-19 and Tier 3 rules and guidelines.
All three of Kaua‘i’s public high schools will celebrate graduation on May 21, with Kapa‘a High having 240 participating senior students on the school’s campus, in-person with limited guests and vehicles and live streaming.
Kaua‘i High will host 290 participating seniors at the Vidinha Stadium in Lihu‘e with limited guests, and live stream provided.
State DOE Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina, in a recent conversation on graduation, said Kaua‘i DOE officials have been in communication with the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency and other governmental agencies in ensuring the proper protocol is approved.
Kaua‘i High graduating seniors will be socially-distanced on the Vidinha Stadium field (with face masks being worn), and guests being admitted into the stadium will also be socially-distanced in compliance with the current approved graduation protocols.
Waimea High returns to its campus front lawn, with approximately 135 graduating seniors, for an in-person ceremony with limited guests and live stream.
Because of the dynamic condititions brought on by the pandemic, individuals seeking more detailed information on a graduation ceremony should contact the institution directly.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.