Class of 2021


Riding Innovation Into The Future 

High School Graduation 2021

May 28, 2021 - 7:00 p.m.

Rain date: May 29, 2021 - 7:00 p.m.

Dear Class of 2021 and Families: 

I am very excited to share in the graduation celebration with the Class of 2021 on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 7:00 pm.   Even though many events have been postponed or cancelled this year due to COVID, I am happy to announce that current guidelines will allow us to hold the 2021 graduation ceremony outside at the Thomas Bradford Field  for everyone to enjoy.  This final celebration will be a special memory for the graduates as they start the next chapter of their lives. 

In order to comply with the current state guidelines, there will be several expectations that must be followed in order to make the graduation ceremony run smoothly.  Please read over the following guidelines concerning details about graduation practices and the expectations during the graduation ceremony.  All guidelines are subject to change.

Graduation Practices:

  • Thursday, May 20 at 7:30 a.m.  

    • Seniors and junior marshals will meet in the JH gym.  Practice will last until approximately 10:00 a.m. followed by a catered breakfast for all seniors and junior marshals.

    • Lifetouch will begin photos at 7:30 a.m.  If you wish to purchase an individual or class photo, bring your payment and picture envelope that was given to you when gowns were distributed. 

    • Dress clothes along with the cap and gown are required so that a class photo along with individual photos may be taken.  Gowns should be free of wrinkles.  Students should also wear tassels, stoles, and honorary cords. 

    • Graduates should wear the same clothes to the May 20th practice as they plan to wear to the ceremony.  

      • Lightweight material is recommended due to the possibility of hot weather.

      • Girls - wear the same outfit you plan to wear for graduation so that you can practice walking, sitting, etc.  Girls may NOT wear high heels since graduates will be walking on the track.  Please wear either flat sandals/shoes or wedge-type shoes.

      • Boys - Dress shirt, tie, dark dress pants, black or brown shoes and socks.

      • Please contact the school if help is needed obtaining dress clothes/shoes for the ceremony. 

    • Following pictures, seniors will participate in the traditional graduation walk around the outside of the school for the underclassmen and elementary school students.

    • Following graduation practice, all seniors and junior marshals will be provided with a free catered breakfast at the school.

    • Seniors will be required to return for all afternoon classes (7th and 9th hours).

    • Junior Marshals will also participate in practice on May 20th.  Junior Marshals will be required to return to morning classes after the breakfast is over. 

  • Wednesday, May 26 at 8:00 a.m. 

    • Seniors and junior marshals will meet in the JH gym.  Practice will last approximately 1 hour.

    • The band will participate in this practice. 

    • Students are not required to wear their caps and gowns or dress clothes to this rehearsal.  

    • Valedictorians and Salutatorians will stay longer to practice their speeches.

    • All students will be responsible to pre-arrange any final exam that may be missed during practice time. (1st and 3rd hour possibly)

    • All books and materials must be turned in, and any debts paid, prior to graduation practice on Wednesday, May 26. 

Car Parade

  • A car parade honoring the Class of 2021 will be held on Saturday, May 22 at 5:00 p.m.

  • The rain date for the parade will be Sunday, May 23 at 5:00 p.m. 

  • The parade will take place along the publicized parade route through Arcola. Community members are encouraged to set up along the parade route, while maintaining a proper social distance of 6 feet, to cheer for and congratulate the graduates. Those at high risk are encouraged to remain indoors or in vehicles.

  • The parade route will begin and end at the high school.   Parade Route Map

  • Seniors and Junior Marshals should gather at the south parking lot at 4:30 for the parade line up. 

  • Seniors and Junior Marshals may drive their own vehicle or convertible which is driven only by their parents or a member of their household.

  • Students should not ride together in vehicles. 

  • Seniors and Junior Marshals will wear their caps and gowns for the parade. During the parade route, students will not be required to wear masks. 

  • Vehicles can be decorated in graduation themed decor. 

  • Items such as candy should NOT be thrown out.

2021 Graduation Ceremony Expectations:

  • The graduation ceremony will be held on Friday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Thomas Bradford Field.  The rain date for the ceremony will be Saturday, May 29 at 7:00 p.m.

  • Each senior and junior marshal should arrive at 6:15  p.m. and park on the west side of the school near the elementary playground.  

  • Each senior and junior marshal MUST wear a mask to enter the building. 

  • Parents will NOT be allowed to enter the JH gym with the seniors.

  • Once inside the JH gym, seniors will sit on the bleachers spaced 6 feet apart.  Masks must be worn inside the building at all times.  

  • Attire for graduation ceremony:

    • Cap/Tassel, gown, stole, and honorary cords.

      • Caps should be situated on the head with the short point slightly below the center of the forehead or at a position that allows the cap to be flat or parallel to the ground.    The tassel should be over the right eye before prior to graduation.  Male speakers should remove caps before speaking.

      • Only approved cords, medallions, and other items may be worn during the graduation ceremony.  In addition, no flowers can be carried, other than those handed out by the school,  during the ceremony.  This will ensure a formal, uniform appearance for the ceremony.  

    • Dress clothes as outlined above

    • All seniors will be provided with a Class of 2021 mask to wear during the ceremony. 

    • Girls may NOT wear high heels since graduates will be walking on the track.  Please wear either flat sandals/shoes or wedge-type shoes. 

  • Cell phones will remain in the JH gym during the ceremony. Students will be given an envelope to place their cell phones in.  The doors to the JH gym will be locked during the ceremony. 

  • Faculty will check to ensure that each senior does not have any item on their person which could cause a disruption to the ceremony.  No phones, gum, silly string, confetti, noise makers or other distracting items will be allowed.  The School Board feels strongly about keeping the graduation ceremony a dignified atmosphere. 

  • At 7:00 p.m., seniors and junior marshals will be escorted to the football stadium bleachers to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance.  

  • After the ceremony is over, graduates will circle the track around the football field so that guests can congratulate the students and take pictures.  

  • Graduates will then return to the JH gym to drop off their gowns and pick up cell phones.

Guests Expectations:

  • Gates will open at 6:15  p.m.  All guests MUST remain in their cars until gates open.

  • Parking will be available in the main high school parking lot, the cafeteria parking lot, and in the roped off area east of the football field. 

  • Guests may enter by the main entrance to the field on the west side or at the JFL building entrance south of the field. 

  • Current guidelines allow outside venues to have 60% capacity.  Therefore, there will not be a limit on the number of guests each graduate may invite to the ceremony.

  • All seating for guests will be on the football field, visiting bleachers or around the perimeter east of the football field. Chairs will be set up on the football field in groups of 4. 

  • Each group of family members must remain 6 feet away from any other guests before, during, or after  the ceremony. 

  • Once the ceremony begins, we ask that guests remain seated until the ceremony is over.  Graduates will circle the track so that guests can congratulate the students and take pictures.

  • If possible, please leave small children at home.  

  • During the ceremony,  an Arcola faculty member will be taking pictures of each graduate as they receive their diploma.  Those pictures will be made available on social media for parents to download. 

  • The ceremony will be aired on Facebook live  for other family members to watch who are not able to attend.  

With everyone’s cooperation, we hope that the 2021 Graduation Ceremony will be a special event in the lives of these young people.  

As always, please continue to be safe and practice social distancing!


Mrs. Sigrist