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High school graduation plans announced for Hawaii public schools

                                Roosevelt High School class of 2020 graduate Makalei Chan was greeted with cheers after receiving her degree.


    Roosevelt High School class of 2020 graduate Makalei Chan was greeted with cheers after receiving her degree.

Hawaii’s public high schools will hold graduations in various locations for the Class of 2021 to accommodate pandemic precautions, with several big schools choosing Aloha Stadium.

The Department of Education announced the dates, times and formats for the ceremonies Monday afternoon, posting a list online at the DOE website that will continue to be updated.

The first event is scheduled for May 15 when Pearl City High’s graduates will turn their tassels at Aloha Stadium. Other schools choosing that venue for commencement ceremonies include Aiea, Farrington, Kaiser, Mililani, Moanalua and Waipahu. Graduates and essential staff will be inside the stadium while guests and vehicles, in limited numbers, will remain outside.

“We are so proud of our Class of 2021 graduates for their scholarship, student leadership and resilience during this very difficult COVID-19 period,” Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said. “Our high schools across the islands have been working with graduates, parents and families to plan the best possible celebrations while adhering to social distancing requirements and other health and safety guidelines.”

Many schools are offering drive-thru diploma pickups on their campuses or having their graduates walk across the stage, distanced from their peers. Campbell High School, the state’s largest public school, will hold a drive-thru diploma pickup on its campus for the 650 seniors scheduled to graduate.

At Roosevelt High, graduates in cap and gown will be recognized individually as they each make their way across the stage in the school’s auditorium. Two of the graduate’s guests may stand below and take pictures. Social distancing requirements due to COVID-19 prohibit other family or friends from gathering outside school grounds to meet graduates.

“The ceremony will be live-streamed so family and friends can watch from the comfort of their homes,” the school said in an announcement.

Kalani High School has reserved the Hawaii Convention Center on May 25 for its in-person ceremony, with graduates and essential staff only inside the center. Castle High is holding two ceremonies to accommodate its seniors in person on campus and the events will be live-streamed.

On the Neighbor Islands, Kauai High School opted for Vidinha Stadium for its in-person ceremony, which also will be live-streamed. Baldwin High and Maui High will use the War Memorial Stadium.

“We thank our school communities and partners who have been working to make these events truly special,” Kishimoto said.

Students’ families who have questions should contact their school. The list of schools and their graduation plans can be found online at

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