POCATELLO – While the COVID-19 pandemic may have halted the many rituals and celebrations of daily life, KISU-FM is collaborating with American Falls High School to broadcast its first non-traditional graduation ceremony this year.
The 45-minute ceremony will take place at Brulotte Field at JR Simplot Elementary School on Saturday, May 30, at 7 p.m. The proceedings will be pre-recorded and aired on KISU-FM to allow those who cannot attend to tune in. KISU’s broadcast will begin at approximately 7 p.m.
Attendees at the ceremony are strongly recommended to wear masks and follow all social distancing protocols. Graduates will only be allowed up to four guests, and the American Falls Police Department will be present to ensure safety at all times.
The ceremony will be immediately followed by a parade of seniors through town starting at 7:45 p.m. The parade route begins at the field and ends at the high school. Friends and relatives of the graduates who are unable to attend the ceremony, as well as the larger American Falls and surrounding communities, are invited to attend the parade and support the graduating class of 2020. Attendees are advised to secure a spot at the golf course on the route where they can watch the parade comfortably.
According to American Falls High School principal, Travis Hansen, roughly the same percentage of seniors are graduating this year as in previous years. When the pandemic hit, seniors had an initial negative reaction to the possibility of not having a graduation ceremony.
“They felt sad, upset, angry –cheated out of the experience. They had worked so hard for so long and been looking forward to it, they just felt like it wouldn’t happen,” Hansen said.
Hansen and American Falls High School teachers and administrators played with a few different ideas, such as holding a virtual graduation, broadcasting it, a drive-in movie style event or a parade through town. The school superintendent had to work with Southeastern Idaho Public Health to submit a plan for the ceremony that was approved.
“We’ve never had to have Southeastern Idaho Public Health approve our graduation plans before,” said Hansen. “But the kids are really excited. This is the first time we’re doing our graduation ceremony on the football field.”
“KISU-FM is excited and proud to be cooperating with American Falls High School to create a memorable experience honoring the graduating class of 2020,” said Jamon Anderson, KISU interim general manager. “We encourage listeners to stay tuned in following the ceremony for a special graduation-themed jazz music program by ISU faculty member Jon Armstrong, KISU’s host for ‘Don’t Call it Jazz.’”