Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake High School plans live graduation at football stadium

Students, family, to attend graduation from the safety of their own cars


Last updated 6/4/2020 at 10:19am

MEDICAL LAKE — Local high school seniors will be able to attend a live, in person graduation ceremony after all. If everything goes as planned, that is.

With Spokane County now is Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phased plan to reopen the state, some restrictions on graduation ceremonies have been relaxed.

Medical Lake School District Superintendent Timothy Ames updated the school board on plans for the graduation ceremony at the board meeting on May 26.

Ames says that unless there are any changes—which he didn’t rule out—the school will hold a live ceremony on the its football field on June 13. The time of the ceremony is still being determined.

Attendees will watch from their cars—drive in theater style— while parked on the field.

While some districts are holding mostly pre-recorded drive-in ceremonies, Ames says this one will feature many live elements.

“All graduates will be on the passenger side [of their cars]. They will be parked in rows. We will say, ‘Row one, step out of your cars.’ They will stay socially distanced as they get up to the stage,” Ames said. “They will walk across the stage to get their diploma … We’re not going to shake hands.”

Ames said students will pick up their diplomas from a table. Staff will not hand diplomas to students.

Ames said there will be four district staff on stage. He says one student will go on stage at a time so there are only ever five people on stage at once. This is to comply with Inslee’s ban of gatherings of more than five people.

“Our valedictorian and solitarian will speak, live,” Ames said. [Principal] Chris [Spring] will say something, I will say something.”

Ames said students getting to walk across the stage live, instead of a video of students walking across the stage playing, was an important point for parents.

Ames said at the end, students will be asked to get back out of their cars and throw their hats up in the air.

Ames said the students from Medical Lake Endeavors will also graduate the same night. He says that ceremony will be right before MLHS’ and will follow the same format.

“We have included them in our discussions from the start,” Ames said.

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at


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