Coronavirus response | Area high schools planning in-person graduations, but details still murky – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

A dream started four years ago will be realized when Champaign’s Academy High School graduates its first class.

The ceremony is set for 3 p.m. May 21 at Mattis Park.

“As challenging as this year’s been, this has been a remarkable and historic year,” Head of School John Carpenter said.

Thirteen students will receive their diplomas.

“We opened back in 2017 with nine freshmen,” Carpenter said.

Like many area high schools, final plans are still being formulated. Carpenter said tickets for the inaugural graduation will be handed out to immediate family, “depending on where we are at the end of May with the pandemic.”

“With the new school, we’re sort of building the plane as we fly,” he said.

Carpenter said the inaugural graduation will afford an opportunity “to begin and establish some traditions.”

He said he has begun speaking with faculty to get input on what the ceremony should encompass.

Carpenter said Academy High is the first independent private high school in “the Champaign-Urbana region.”

Administrative assistant Ekta Garg said “the administration is thrilled to see most of our Pioneer students still with us and ready to finish their high school career where they started: at Academy.”

At Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, Principal Travis Duley said after a few years of planning graduation ceremonies, “you kind of get robotic with it.”

In other words, the ceremony remains largely the same, with the biggest change each year being the graduates.

That certainly won’t be the case this year as PBL joins most of the high schools in the area in planning an