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Lincoln Public School seniors excited to graduate in-person this weekend

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 8:43 PM CDT|Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 9:11 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Public School seniors will graduate in-person this year. The events are set to be a far cry from the virtual, then belated, graduation ceremonies the class of 2020 had.

10/11 NOW sat down with Lincoln High senior Evada Palmer outside of her high school Thursday afternoon. She said the main emotions she’s feeling are excitement and relief.

“I’m happy that graduation is going to be in-person because there were so many uncertainties all year long, whether our activities would happen, if we would be wearing masks. It’s just exciting to see graduation be in person,” Palmer said.

Palmer is one of hundreds of Lincoln High graduates who will walk across the stage at Pinnacle Bank Arena Friday. An event not just long-awaited for by the students, but also their parents.

“We’re just excited we can have something in person,” Nicole Palmer said. “Even about four months ago we were wondering what we could do, what we were going to do.”

Another Lincoln High mom, Julane Amen, is getting ready to host her son Jack’s graduation party.

“We are so grateful we get to celebrate with friends and family and have a party after because a year ago that was a great big question mark,” Amen said.

All six graduation ceremonies will take place at Pinnacle Bank Arena between Friday and Sunday with full capacity allowed. Masks will be optional for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and required for those who haven’t been vaccinated. LPS also said there will be a mask-only section for those who are high risk and don’t want to be around unmasked attendants.

Amen said they are just thankful it’s happening.

“I think it’s going to be a surreal moment to see him walk across the stage and get his diploma,” Amen said.

It’s an important moment for all high school seniors, but especially after a year of adversity.

“Jack was the lead in the school musical and sang through a mask,” Amen said. “He had to adapt and make the best of the situation to have the best senior year he possibly could.”

Palmer was unsure what the year would look like for her daughter Evada.

“As we got toward basketball season we thought we’re not going to get to see our dancer, but we did. LPS did a great job,” Nicole Palmer said.

The students said after these changes, having in-person graduation means the world.

“It’s going to be really cool to not only see myself walk across the stage but classmates too,” Evada said. “I’m really glad we can come together as a school one last time and end it all together on a normal timeline.”

The following is a message from Lincoln Public Schools regarding the graduation ceremonies:

We have met with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department following the new Directed Health Measure announcement and have made the following adjustments to the 2021 Graduation Ceremony:

There is no limit to the number of guests attending per graduate and no tickets are required. The venue is available at 100% capacity. Guests will be encouraged to physically distance themselves when and where possible.

Face coverings will be OPTIONAL for anyone fully vaccinated. Face coverings will be REQUIRED for anyone NOT fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, in general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

Two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or

Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends you keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated

Other reminders about graduation:

Before leaving home, everyone must complete the symptom self-screening. If you answer yes to any of the self-screen questions, please stay home.

Doors will open to the public one hour before the ceremony. Students will report to the main floor 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

In addition to the north doors, you can enter the main doors on the south side of Pinnacle Bank Arena (off R Street) and follow directions to the seating area.

Paid parking is available in the parking garages near Pinnacle Bank Arena to the south.

Free parking is available to the North in the Festival Space Parking or the Saltdogs Stadium Parking. You will have access to enter on the north side when walking across the Lincoln Pedestrian Bridge.

In order to maintain a safe and secure environment, Pinnacle Bank Arena will enforce its Clear Bag Policy during Lincoln Public Schools graduation ceremonies.

When students arrive, they will find their name card on their assigned chair (alphabetical order) and have a seat. Staff will be available to assist students.

Students, when directed, will take the card on their chair with them to the stage and hand it to the pronouncer as they enter the stage. Students will be able to briefly remove their mask as they cross the stage to receive their diplomas.

All graduation ceremonies will be live-streamed on the Lincoln Public Schools website and the LNK TV Education Channel.

Graduation Schedule:

Friday, May 28, 2021

6:00 PM - Lincoln High

Saturday, May 29, 2021

8:30 AM - Lincoln Southeast

12:30 PM - Lincoln Northeast

4:30 PM - Lincoln Southwest

Sunday, May 30, 2021

12:00 PM - Lincoln North Star

4:00 PM - Lincoln East

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