wjxt logo

Duval County high school graduations begin

Last-minute changes after CDC releases new guidelines

Graduation Season in Duval County kicks off today with Mount Herman Exceptional Student Center students today at 11 a.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Graduation season kicked off Thursday in Duval County. Students at the Mount Herman Exceptional Student Center marked the milestone at 11 a.m., with thousands of others following over the next three weeks.

Lee High School will have its ceremony Tuesday and like most local high schools, it will happen outdoors at the football stadium. The biggest change this year is face coverings will be optional at outdoor ceremonies for graduates and guests. Schools will also not be required to conduct temperatures checks.

Some exceptions include Andrew Jackson, A. Philip Randolph, Douglas Anderson, Darnell Cookman, and Frank H. Peterson which are holding their ceremonies at the Times-Union Theatre downtown. None of those schools have a large enough venue to host an outdoor graduation.

The school district says it’s not requiring masks outdoors because of new CDC guidelines and because vaccines are now available to children 12 and up.

According to the Florida Department of Health, more than 264,000 people between the ages of 12 and 24 have received at least one shot across the state since that change took effect earlier this month.

Over the weekend, Duval Schools worked with health officials to promote vaccine access with their vaccine clinic at Sandalwood High School.

Last year’s graduation ceremonies were postponed until July because of the pandemic. Many were held outdoors and with limitations on how many people could attend. Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene called it one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to make.

News4Jax partnered with the district and High Schools 9:12 to provide a televised tribute to the 2020 graduating class, highlighting how challenging and rewarding the year had been.

The district is also looking for the public’s input regarding COVID-19 safety measures for the upcoming school year. The survey is available through Monday, May 24.

Below you’ll find a schedule of graduation ceremonies (school, site, time):

Thursday, May 20

  • Mt. Herman Exceptional Student Center, Mt. Herman Exceptional Student Center, 11 a.m.

Friday, May 21

  • Palm Avenue Exceptional Student Center, Paxon School for Advanced Studies, 5 p.m.
  • Alden Road Exceptional Student Center, Sandalwood High School, 6 p.m.

Monday, May 24

  • Baldwin Middle Senior High, Baldwin Middle Senior High, 6 p.m.
  • Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Paxon School for Advanced Studies, 6 p.m.
  • Stanton College Prep, Stanton College Prep, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, May 25

  • Atlantic Coast High, Atlantic Coast High, 6 p.m.
  • Lee High, Lee High 6 p.m.
  • Ribault High, Ribault High, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 27

  • Andrew Jackson High, Times-Union Moran Theatre, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 28

  • A. Philip Randolph Academies of Technology, Times-Union Moran Theatre, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 1

  • Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Times-Union Moran Theatre, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 2

  • Darnell Cookman School of the Medical Arts, Times-Union Moran Theatre, 7 p.m.

Thursday, June 3

  • Ed White High, Ed White High, 6 p.m.
  • Frank H. Peterson, Times-Union Moran Theatre, 7 p.m.
  • Mandarin High, Mandarin High, 6 p.m.
  • Sandalwood High, Sandalwood High, 6 p.m.

Friday, June 4

  • Englewood High, Englewood High, 6 p.m.
  • First Coast High, First Coast High, 6 p.m.
  • Raines High Raines High, 6 p.m.
  • Terry Parker High, Terry Parker High, 6 p.m.

Monday, June 7

  • Bridge to Success Academy, Westside High, 9 a.m.
  • Duval Virtual Instruction Academy, Wolfson High, 9 a.m.
  • Fletcher High, Fletcher High, 6 p.m.
  • Marine Science Center, Fletcher High, 9 a.m.
  • Westside High, Westside High 6 p.m.
  • Wolfson High, Wolfson High, 6 p.m.

About the Author:

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.