Vice Speaker Nelson Advocates for Creative Solutions to GDOE Graduation Ceremonies


(Hagåtña, Guam) – Responding to calls from concerned stakeholders, Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson has advocated for creative solutions for the Guam Department of Education to consider in place of the cancelled, traditional graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020.


In a letter sent Thursday to GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez, Vice Speaker Nelson said she understands that, due to the island’s COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing requirements, the department had to cancel traditional graduation ceremonies held annually for senior classes. GDOE announced that traditional graduation ceremonies are cancelled in light of tight restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing requirements and the unavailability of the University of Guam Calvo Field House. The Superintendent stated that he is working with schools to develop alternative options to celebrate students and their accomplishments, as well as safe ways to distribute diplomas and transcripts.


Vice Speaker Nelson recommended several reasonable suggestions to the Superintendent in lieu of traditional graduation ceremonies, including the following:

· Drive-in or drive-through ceremonies where families remain in their vehicles

· Virtual graduation ceremonies via live stream or pre-recorded video

· Inclusion of traditional speeches by the class valedictorian, salutatorian and senior class president via remote live stream or pre-recorded video


School systems and academic communities across the nation have made headlines for their creative solutions and exciting alternatives to traditional graduation ceremonies. Vice Speaker Nelson is looking forward to hearing GDOE’s plans to honor Guam’s graduates and offered the department any assistance by her office and the 35th Guam Legislature.


“Many of our island’s families have looked forward to graduation day and want to celebrate their graduate’s achievements with as much pomp and circumstance as possible, as do we,” said Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson, chairperson of the Committee on Education.


“Our graduates have worked hard to earn our island’s recognition and are eager to share their many accomplishments with us. We can still honor our graduates by collaborating on creative solutions that bring our seniors to the forefront, where they can be recognized and share their dreams and visions for the future of our island. It is these moments of gratitude, joy and love that will inspire hope for our people during these difficult times. We will continue working with GDOE and our Superintendent to ensure that this dream for the Class of 2020 and their families is realized.”


For more information, please contact Tihu Lujan at The Office of Vice Speaker

Telena Cruz Nelson at (671) 989-7696 or senatortcnelson@guamlegislature.org.

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