Graduation to be held at Audi Field this June

Chau Nguyen

The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 will be in-person at Audi Field on June 22 at 10 a.m. 

On March 31, DC Health granted Wilson permission to host the event in-person.

According to 12th grade Assistant Principal Julian Pineda, Wilson has had conversations with the DCPS Central Office and other teachers in the Senior Advisory Committee prior to the approval of an outdoor graduation. “We were looking at the pros and cons, and we decided to go with the venue,” Pineda explained. Renting a venue with a larger space allows for the seniors to invite more people. 

Principals were given the option to sign up for outdoor promotion ceremonies before the location was finalized. All of those schools will have their events at Auidi Field. Now that the venue location is confirmed, “we will be able to tell how many guests we can invite per student,” Pineda said.

Wilson is also considering the option of having both an in-person graduation ceremony and a livestream for those who choose not to attend.

A tentative senior timeline has been scheduled leading up to the graduation ceremony. April and May 21 are set to be Senior Spirit Day, on which the administration plans to create special videos and send surprise postcards to students. June 10 is the last day of class for seniors. All senior grades have to be in the system by June 11, otherwise students won’t be able to graduate on the 22.

 Senior week will be held on June 14-18. The 14-16 are Senior Clearance days, on which seniors come to school and return any remaining learning materials. Senior Awards will be virtual, thus having more flexibility on the date–either on June 15 or 17. 

Graduation Practice will be held on the 18 in the morning, followed by the Senior Panoramic photo at 12pm and Senior Cookout immediately afterwards. All these celebratory activities will be hosted on the Wilson turf field.

Prom will likely be canceled because it is often hosted in-doors. “ [It’s] not officially canceled, but the likelihood of happening is probably less than one percent,” 12th grade Assistant Principal Kendric Hawkins said. 

Wilson’s Director of Strategy and Logistics Brandon Hall and the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) project the senior dues to cost $26, which is a $95 decrease from last year’s dues. The change is to account for the financial challenges families may face due to the pandemic. 

Potential senior dues will cover costs for announcements, yard signs, diploma covers, the senior cook-out, programs, and other graduation items. Both online and in-person payment methods will be set up for families to pay for senior dues. The $45 Cap and Gown and $65 Yearbook are optional and can be ordered separately through Vendor. 

Wilson is also waiting to see if the District will pay for Cap and Gown for all DCPS seniors, similar to last year. 

All senior tentative dates and charged fees will be finalized and confirmed after Spring Break in a meeting on April 28. 

To address the school’s name being changed to August Wilson, the Cap, Gown, Seal and High School Diploma will only have “Wilson High School” and its abbreviation. This decision was made prior to the announcement of the new name. “The vendor needed some time to manufacture. We didn’t know if it would be a new name before graduation, but we cannot wait that long,” Hawkins said. “Having talked to Principal Martin, we decided to go with Wilson HS.”