April 22, 2020
Dear Seniors and Families,

With the decision now made that we will not be returning to campus this school year, the time has come for us to re-envision graduation activities for the AHS Class of 2020. We would like to invite seniors and their families to a brainstorming conversation Thursday at 4:00 where we will gather input and ideas to help guide our planning.  Join us at meet.google.com/rau-ttqj-ibq .

This has been a tough week for you all, getting the news that you won't be returning to the Nest. You're a month away from the end of high school, and you won't have the same opportunities for closure or the same chances to say your good-byes and to share your appreciations with those who have supported and shaped you. Personally, when I think that I won't have the moment I usually get to have on the stage at the Community Concert Hall where I hug each one of you right after Sean hands you your diploma--well, that's when the tears seriously well up for me. Ugh.

High schools and colleges across the country are making a wide range of decisions about what graduation can look like this year. Some are postponing, others are cancelling altogether. Creative ideas about virtual ceremonies or gatherings that accommodate significant social distancing are popping up all over. With just 60 student in the AHS class of 2020, we know that we can design an event on May 29 that allows our graduates to wear their caps and gowns and celebrate together in some way .

We're closely monitoring news and advisories, and Governor Polis' recent announcement that we will move from a Stay-at-Home order to Safer-at-Home practices this Friday still make it clear that gatherings of more than ten people are unsafe for the time being. The governor has said that it is possible to work with local public health departments to develop a substantially revised ceremony this sping, with social distancing in place. He also stated that it's unlikely that schools will be able to hold traditional graduation ceremonies any earlier than this fall.

We are not planning to postpone the ceremony , since it's unclear that our traditional graduation could safely happen in July or August, and we want to be sure that all families can be included in this important rite-of-passage. We feel confident that we can create something on May 29 that will be celebratory, unique and special--and if larger gatherings become possible in late summer, we will certainly consider hosting a special Alumni Gathering, giving us another opportunity to celebrate the class of 2020 . Because, check it out-- you all will be AHS Alumni soon!

One idea we're kicking around is to gather somewhere outside, with plenty of distance between families, maybe in cars, finding a way to broadcast the ceremony so we're all experiencing it live, together and safely ( oh, how I wish we still had the drive-in movie theater in Durango! ). We want to hear what elements of graduation and the other end-of-year events for seniors feel most important to you all before committing to anything. Please share your input and ideas about redesigning graduation festivities by completing this short survey .

As a reminder, we're moving forward with Yearbook and Senior Celebration Booklet publication on a delayed timeline. We look forward to getting both of these keepsakes to you in the summer.

  • Send Senior Photos to yearbook@animashighschool.com by June 1. The yearbook staff will use up to three photos in the yearbook, but we use just one photo per senior in the Senior Celebration Booklet. If you are sending more than one photo, please indicate which one you want to use in the Senior Celebration Booklet.

  • Seniors must complete the Senior Celebration Booklet Questions as soon as possible, and no later than June 1. The Google Form, linked above, will gather information we'll include on each senior's half page including highlights from time at AHS, advice to freshmen, lessons from AHS and plans for the future.

I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow at 4:00 for our conversation!

All best,