River Falls and St. Croix high schools will host virtual commencements due to COVID-19 restrictions. River Falls is set for Friday, July 17, and St. Croix Central for Saturday, July 25.

River Falls High School

River Falls grads will take part in a virtual commencement ceremony, followed by an optional drive-through staging ceremony.

The virtual graduation will begin at noon July 17.

Graduates Alexandra Samargia and Sophia Schmidt will speak during the ceremony. A photo slideshow will celebrate each member of the graduating class.

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Beginning at 3 p.m., graduates will have the opportunity to cross the stage that will be set up outside of the River Falls High School main commons. The graduate’s name will be read aloud, and there will be photo opportunities. One vehicle per graduate will be allowed for the staging ceremony.

The ceremony will be live-streamed on the district’s Youtube page.

St. Croix Central

St. Croix Central grads will celebrate beginning at noon July 25. The commencement will be premiered on the St. Croix Central School District Youtube page.

The district will not have an in-person ceremony.

“I can’t emphasize enough how difficult a decision it was,” said High School Principal Kurt Soderberg, whose son is part of the graduating class.

The district listened to state and county health recommendations in making the decision. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommended in May that all spring and summer graduations be canceled or postponed.

Soderberg said they wanted to make sure they had a ceremony, and found a way to make the virtual event meaningful. The district has added a couple aspects that will be unique to the virtual format.

“It allowed some opportunities there as well,” he said. “That doesn’t diminish the disappointment for all of us that we’re not going to be face-to-face.”

Valedictorians Zachary Holme and Laureen Leen will speak during the commencement.

The choir will perform, with solos by Austin Albright and Kolbi Juen.

Soderberg said he appreciates the support and understanding the community has shown.