District will honor graduates with events that deliver a more personalized graduation experience

A 2019 Edsel Ford High graduate shakes hands with Principal Scott Casebolt as other dignitaries look on during graduation.

Later than usual and not quite what graduates were expecting, Dearborn Public Schools has announced plans to hold personalized graduation ceremonies in July.

The plan is for Edsel Ford, Dearborn, Fordson and Dearborn Magnet High Schools to hold similar events on different days. The Board of Education approved the plans at their June 8 meeting.  Edsel would hold its graduation on July 13 at 1 p.m., Dearborn High on July 14 at 3:30 p.m., Fordson on July 15 at 3 p.m. and the Magnet High School on July 16 at 6 p.m. August 3rd through the 6th are being held in reserve in case of weather concerns or to accommodate any new Executive Orders from the Governor that may impact public events. 

“We feel we will be able to provide students a memorable event for them and their family,” said Dearborn High Principal Adam Martin.

At all three schools a driver will pull up to the school and allow the senior and two adults to get out of the vehicle. (Edsel and Fordson will allow the vehicle to park)  The three people will get into a continuous moving line spaced behind other graduates.  The students will have their names announced and greet dignitaries on a viewing area with a nod or wave, no handshakes. The graduate would then be handed their diploma and pose for a quick professional picture, as they do at traditional graduations. The graduate and their adults would then proceed to the end of the event where their driver would have pulled around and be waiting to pick them up and take them home.  Students and families will not be allowed to linger at the school.

The entire event will be broadcast live on the District’s YouTube channel.  Speeches from students and dignitaries will be prerecorded. Students would be assigned certain times to arrive to ease congestion.

“While we know this is not what students and parents had hoped for, we feel it is a fair compromise,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko. “Traditional graduations at our three main high schools attracted more than 1,000 people to each event, and it will be a long time before it is reasonably safe to hold such large gatherings. This approach will let students see their school one more time, wear their caps and gowns to participate in an actual face-to-face event with their parents present, and allow unlimited family members to watch from home.”

School officials are still working out final details.  Principals and staff will communicate specific information with their students and parents in the weeks leading up to the graduation ceremonies.

The schools have also given special recognition to their valedictorians and salutatorians.

Fordson High School co-validictorians are Mahdi Hassan Abdallah and Ibrahim Nasser Qasem and salutatorian is Muhammad Salah Alnasser. Dearborn High valedictorian is Cindy Hakim and salutatorian Dania Alazawi.  For Edsel Ford High School, the valedictorian is Ahmed Alshemmam and salutatorian Samantha Davies.

At the Henry Ford Early College, Zeinab Smart is valedictorian and Rima Abdulrahman is salutatorian.  For the first class from the Henry Ford Early College-Advanced Manufacturing program, Dareen Elhusseini is valedictorian and Wedad Aljahmi is salutatorian. Those five-year schools are housed at Henry Ford College, a partner in the programs that allow students to simultaneously earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree. Henry Ford College canceled its graduations this spring, including those for the Early College.  The college has not yet released any updated plans.

“The Class of 2020 will certainly be a year to remember,” Dr. Maleyko remarked. “While we wish we could celebrate them together as a group, we are thankful we could develop this solution so we do have a chance to congratulate them in person for their success and wish them well in their future endeavors.”