Fork Union Military Academy announced this week that it would hold graduation exercises for seniors in the Class of 2020 on July 18, 2020. The commencement ceremony is being planned to take place in the school's stadium where past graduations have been celebrated. School officials say that the July 18 date was chosen because it is expected to meet the schedule announced by Governor Northam for the lifting of restrictions on businesses and events.
"We will continue to monitor the changing circumstances," said Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.), the President of Fork Union Military Academy, "and we are developing a comprehensive plan for our graduation and our phased return to school. We are determined to have a graduation ceremony for our seniors that appropriately honors them and the completion of their high school journey. They have done very well under extraordinary circumstances and I couldn't be prouder of each one of them."
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the closing of school campuses across Virginia, by order of Governor Ralph Northam. Many schools scrambled to put in place online learning alternatives. Fork Union Military Academy follows a unique curriculum plan called the One Subject Plan, in which students take just one class during each of the five grading terms of the school year. This simplified the school's conversion to distance learning for the final grading term.
"Because each teacher is only teaching one class with approximately five to fifteen students," explains COL Mike Goad, Fork Union's Academic Dean, "we were able to set up distance learning in a way that was really tailored to the needs of each class. It's worked very smoothly for us. We miss having our students on campus, though, and we are looking forward to having a graduation ceremony this summer."
"Graduation from high school is a true rite of passage for our seniors," Goad continued. "Even though we had to send our students home and finish the school year with distance learning, we have been looking forward to the day when we could be together and celebrate the accomplishments of our senior class in person."