Class of 2020

Dear ACPS Graduating Class of 2020:

You entered your senior year anticipating challenges to overcome and milestones to experience. You knew you would need to study hard to earn good grades, and you looked forward to participating in clubs, extracurricular activities, and sports with your friends. You envisioned celebrating at your senior prom and, more importantly, at your graduation ceremony. None of us imagined we would be facing a worldwide pandemic and the disruption it has caused to everyday life. Despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, I promise every effort will be made to provide   you with the formal recognition you deserve as a graduate of Allegany County Public Schools. Class of 2020, your experience has been interrupted, but the finish line is still in sight.

One of our school district’s goals is that our students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school. Our teachers, administrators, and staff are dedicated to your success. You have proven you are ready, and we are going to do everything in our power to help you reach the finish line. I am proud of the determination and resolve you have demonstrated during these unpredictable and difficult times. I admire your ability to face adversity and keep moving forward. While it may not be the senior year ending that you had dreamed, you will still reap the rewards by meeting graduation requirements through the Continuity of Learning. Stay focused, stay positive, and be ready for your next chapter. Your administrators and I have heard your request to walk for your graduation and that a virtual ceremony is not desired. Although it is not possible to have a traditional graduation ceremony, we have developed a plan to make this special time in your life as normal as possible. As long as conditions allow, we are happy to announce that you will have the opportunity to walk for your graduation! Details are listed below.

In closing, Maya Angelou once said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” These last few months have proven who you are and what you can overcome. Rise up and prepare for better days ahead.

With Anticipated Congratulations, 

Mr. Jeffrey S. Blank, Interim Superintendent of Schools



If conditions allow, the following steps will take place. If conditions do not allow, step fourteen (14) will be followed.


  1. Diplomas and certificates will be arranged for distribution from your school administrator. This will take place the week of May 18th. At that time, students will confirm their participation in the ceremonies. Please bring your diploma to your graduation ceremony. Center for Career and Technical Education students, please bring your certificates to your ceremony.
  2. The graduation/certification ceremonies will take place on the originally scheduled dates: Center for Career and Technical Education (gowns only) - May 21, 2020; Mountain Ridge High School - May 26, 2020; Allegany High School - May 27, 2020; and Fort Hill High School - May 28, 2020.
  3. The ceremony will take place outside of your school. Each graduate will be permitted one (1) car only.
  4. The ceremony will be livestreamed for those unable to attend.
  5. With the help of our school safety employees, the graduate will be informed when it is your turn to exit your car with your diploma and instructed to walk to an area that is designed to maintain appropriate distance.
  6. No one else will be permitted to leave their vehicle.
  7. Your family will be directed to move their car to the front area of the stage to observe and celebrate your graduation.
  8. Your name will be called, and you will walk to our outside stage and stand between your principal and me for your graduation picture to be taken by a professional photographer. With the help of the maintenance department, we have designed a stage with glass partitions which will create appropriate barriers. You will already have your diploma with you; unfortunately, we will be unable to shake your hand.
  9. After the picture, Allegany, Fort Hill, and Mountain Ridge students will move their tassels and walk to another designated area on the other side of the stage.
  10. When your group of five or less have completed the graduation walk, your vehicle will be dismissed to pick you up so the next group may move forward.
  11. We are prepared to use canopies in order to shield us from weather (sun or rain).
  12. Your school administrator will provide you with a specific time to arrive at the school throughout the day of your graduation ceremony with the first designated group beginning at 10:00 a.m. When you arrive at the school, our school safety employees will direct you to the location for you to wait your turn. It is recommended that you do not arrive earlier than your designated time to ease traffic flow and avoid causing congested travel areas.
  13. All ceremonies will be optional for our graduates.
  14. A virtual video tribute will be available the night of each ceremony. This video will include your principal’s welcome, every graduate's name and picture, and a message from those seniors chosen to give a message to their classmates.

* ACPS will premiere a video prior to all ceremonies and graduations to recognize students who are receiving awards and scholarships, similar to school accolades/awards banquets. Students will be notified in advance by their administrators if they will be receiving an award or scholarship and will be featured in this video.


Published 5/12/20