San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí today announced the City of San Francisco will partner with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to host socially-distanced, outdoor commencements for students graduating from high school this year.
“Graduation is a special time for our students and their loved ones. I remember how exciting my own high school graduation was, and the joy and pride we all felt being able to cross that stage and get our diplomas in front of our friends and family,” said Mayor Breed. “While this year has been anything but a normal senior year for our high school students, we’re glad we can help bring some semblance of normalcy to this year’s graduation ceremonies.”
Graduations for All will provide staggered ceremonies on June 1-3, 2021 for 4,000 public school graduates. Schools with large graduating classes will be hosted at the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s iconic Kezar Stadium. This includes Lowell, Burton, Galileo, Washington, Balboa, O’Connell, Mission, Lincoln, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Marshall and Wallenberg. Smaller public high schools will enjoy more intimate commencements at SFUSD’s McAteer High School campus overlooking Glen Canyon. This includes The Academy SF, Civic Center Secondary, Downtown, Hilltop, Independence, Ida B. Wells, June Jordan School for Equity, SF International, and Youth Chance.
All graduation ceremonies will comply with state and local health guidance. This includes at least two hours between events for thorough disinfection, breakdown, and set up. All students will be seated 6 feet apart. Each student will receive tickets to bring up to four guests. Family pods of four will sit at least 6 feet from each other in the audience.
“I’m so happy our seniors will be able to celebrate this important moment in their lives in the company of their teachers, peers and families,” said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “Just like our schools, our City’s public spaces are there for our children and families. I’m grateful we have come together to find a way to safely mark this momentous occasion.”
“Our high schoolers have had to endure one of the most difficult years in recent memory, that is why I am proud to have supported an initiative by youth commissioner, Erika Morris, that encompasses the spirit of when adolescents move on to the next phase in their life—graduation,” said Supervisor Safaí. “This should be a time of happiness, celebration, families and communities coming together. It is wonderful Mayor Breed has found the resources to make Graduation for All a reality for the Class of 2021.”
“The class of 2021 has faced extraordinary challenges because of the pandemic and it is crucial that we recognize their perseverance and accomplishments,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “This partnership allows families across San Francisco to celebrate their high school graduates in a safe, equitable, and meaningful way.”
“San Francisco could not be prouder of all of our City’s youth and young people in the graduating Classes of 2021 – as well as the loving and dedicated community of City agencies, the school district, community based organizations, and most of all, parents and families who guided our students in their journey. It truly takes a village,” said Maria Su, executive director of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families.
Coordinating all graduations at two sites over three days will reduce the costs of set-up, sound systems, and developing COVID-19 safety protocols. However, safely holding outdoor graduations comes with additional costs. Funds are currently being raised to provide audio-visual support so families in the audience can view closeups of their graduates receiving diplomas, as well as to provide livestreaming to loved ones at home. Early support for Graduations for All has been generously provided by LSP Family Foundation, Silver Giving Foundation, Mick and Sabrina Hellman, and the Fisher Family.
More detailed commencement information will be provided through SFUSD at sfusd.edu/2021graduation