Charleston Catholic Announces Graduation Plans

By Martina Hart
CHARLESTON—Charleston Catholic High School announced plans for their graduation ceremony to take place at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston on Saturday, June 20.
A detailed proposal to safely hold the event amid the coronavirus pandemic had just been approved the week prior. The school administration had been working with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, the City of Charleston, as well as the Department of Catholic Schools and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to make sure that they were following all health guidelines.
“It’s been such a long process because every time we get something shaped out, then the circumstances would change and the guidelines would change, and we go back to the drawing board,” said Colleen Hoyer, principal of Charleston Catholic High School. “So, we’ve been through multiple plans and multiple ideas, and so this one was finally just approved on Friday afternoon.”
Attendance will be limited to the 66 seniors, each with their immediate household who will be able to sit together in designated areas with six feet of space between households. In addition to the traditional cap and gown, they will also wear masks (as will everyone else in attendance). Faculty and staff have been invited as well. The event will be livestreamed to enable extended family and friends to follow online.
“We will start with Baccalaureate Mass at 9:30 Saturday morning, and after Mass we will go straight into a graduation ceremony with the student speakers and distribution of diplomas,” Hoyer explained. The Mass will be concelebrated by Father Donald X. Higgs, president of CCHS and rector of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and Father Binu Emmanuel, C.S.T., high school chaplain and vice rector. Hoyer heard back from families that everybody is getting excited for graduation.
“They were anxious for an opportunity to celebrate together, and I’m glad that we are able to provide them that opportunity,” she said, adding that Haddad Riverfront Park, an amphitheater on the Kanawha River will be a great venue. “We like the downtown location. It’s still close to school, but we feel like an outdoor venue is the safest way to bring that group together for a ceremony, and we felt like Haddad would get us outside, still be downtown, and I think it’s a really pretty spot with the river as our backdrop. I think it will be a special experience.”