SMSD News: Celebrating the Class of 2020

We are tremendously proud of the Class of 2020. While their commencement ceremonies could not take place this week, due to stay-at-home orders, we want to acknowledge this incredible class, the important milestone they have achieved, and we look forward to the celebration that is ahead of us.

This year, our community celebrates that nearly 1,800 high school seniors are graduating from Shawnee Mission high schools. They are a remarkable group of young people, and they graduate well-prepared for college and career.

They have shined academically, and are being actively recruited by colleges and universities across the country. They are the inaugural class for Scholarship Shawnee Mission, and have so far received scholarship offers valued at more than $737 million from higher education institutions through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation. They include 14 National Merit Finalists, at least 7 perfect composite ACT score earners, and 66 students with a 4.7 grade point average or higher, earning Summa Cum Laude recognition. Among these seniors, 245 were enrolled in a Signature Program or Career and Technical Education course this year, building upon their industry-valued skills and market-value assets to assist with the transition to college and career.

Their accomplishments include, but are certainly not limited to achievements in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), along with recognition for their talents in journalism, their work to improve race relations and school climates, and their success in Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps competition. They thrilled us on the athletic fields and courts, impressed us with their problem-solving skills and ingenuity, led us to standing ovations in our auditoriums, and have moved us with their artistry.

We have developed alternative plans for graduation ceremonies to celebrate their accomplishments. (A final decision about whether the district can host gatherings large enough to schedule in-person graduations will be made based on guidance from federal, state and local authorities.)

Plan 1: In-person ceremonies, scheduled as follows:

  • Arrowhead – July 13th @ Arrowhead 7 p.m.
  • East – July 14th @ North 8 p.m.
  • South – July 14th @ South 8 p.m.
  • North – July 15th @ North 8 p.m.
  • West – July 15th @ South 8 p.m.
  • Northwest – July 16th @ North 8 p.m.
  • Horizons – July 16th @ Horizons 7 p.m.

Plan 2: Video produced ceremonies, which would take place the same week.

In order to produce a successful video production of graduation in support of Plan 2, work on the video production is currently underway. While the district hopes to host in-person graduations, a decision will need to be made by June 15, 2020. As more information is gathered, the district will continue to share updates.

Finally, I want to commend all of our graduates for their resiliency, and how they have persevered in finishing out these challenging final weeks of an unprecedented school year.

Congratulations to this deserving Class of 2020 and everyone who has helped them reach this moment. We are incredibly proud of you!

Dr. Mike Fulton