Graduations in 2020 followed state and federal guidelines on social gatherings and safety to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

Many schools included car parades through the town to mark this special occasion.

Douglas County’s largest school district, Roseburg Public Schools held a car parade on the day that had been set aside for graduation.

Roseburg High School also released a video that morning that included all the traditional speeches, pledges and final roll call for the seniors.

The graduates had received their diplomas about two weeks earlier in small ceremonies, where they heard a short speech by Principal Jill Weber before receiving their diplomas from family members and receiving gifts from the RHS Grad Night committee and school.

All those smaller ceremonies were filmed and edited to be included in the commencement ceremony video.

“As much as we were sad that we couldn’t do what we normally do, there’s so much more in this too,” Weber said. “We didn’t want it to feel like you’re coming in for filming, we wanted it to feel like you’re coming in for graduation. I think it does.”

Several mid-sized schools opted for drive-in, or drive-up, graduations.

Sutherlin High School partnered with several businesses to give their graduates a one-of-a-kind experience.

Seniors had the option to attend their graduation in a classic car, thanks to Street Memories Car Club, and the radio station broadcast the graduation so people could hear the speeches and information about the graduating seniors through their car stereos.

“When you’re the principal of a school, you get a lot of text messages with ideas,” Sutherlin High School Principal Kevin Hunt said. “I put together multiple options and this was one that we could make special. We’ll do as much traditional as we can, but have a twist on it.”

South Umpqua High School held its ceremony in the evening and followed it up with a parade and a fireworks show.

And while most schools opted to use their own facilities for the altered ceremonies, Umpqua Valley Christian School came to the Douglas County Museum outdoor lot to host its event.

Throughout the final weeks of school, several schools honored their seniors with yard signs, photos and other small celebrations.

At Glide High School, signs were placed along the highway with a baby photo on one side and a senior portrait on the other.

“We always include a baby photo in our graduation celebration,” Glide High School Principal Kristina Haug said. “We thought it was neat to keep that tradition going.”

Phoenix Charter School of Roseburg decided to delay its graduation ceremony until Sept. 15, with the hope the ban on social gatherings would be removed at that time.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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