May 1, 2020

Dear Class of 2020 & Parents,

The Class of 2020 is one of our finest classes and over the last four years they have enriched the legacy of our school through their exemplary performance in and out of the classroom. Personally, I have enjoyed playing a small part in their development into honorable men and women.

The last six weeks have only enriched the legacy of the Class of 2020. Their grit and perseverance is truly admirable. In unique and difficult circumstances, the seniors have completed their research papers, numerous online assignments, and enough math problems to make any person a little crazy. We appreciate their strong work ethic and determination to finish their studies. More importantly, they redefined hospitality by joining with their fellow citizens to sacrifice so much of their senior year to protect others, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Their actions are the best embodiment of St. Angela’s Charisms of hospitality and perseverance that they have reflected upon since their first days at Ursuline.

For all these reasons the Class of 2020 certainly deserves to participate in graduation ceremonies that honor their many accomplishments. Yet, we are bound by the crowd limits and social distancing rules from the governor, the recommendations of the state, and the policies of the Diocese of Youngstown regarding graduation ceremonies. From Superintendent Mary Fiala, “The Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health have issued an updated statement on what graduation protocols will fit with the Governor’s orders at this time. The spirit of the guidance asks school leaders to conduct graduation ceremonies and other recognition events in a remote manner that honors each student in a safe and responsible way, prioritizing the health needs of students, their families, and the community. This approach embodies our Catholic commitment to human dignity and the common good. Our schools will follow this directive.”

The following are the plans established to honor the Class of 2020:

1. Awards Day will be a virtual celebration of our seniors. It will be available for viewing beginning Thursday, May 21 at 8:00 am via Ursuline’s Facebook, YouTube, and All senior awards will be publicly announced at this time.

2. Baccalaureate will be a virtual Mass from St. Columba Cathedral. It will include the tradition of two senior reflections. Fr. Murphy will be the homilist and celebrant. The Mass will be available for viewing beginning Friday, May 22 at 4:00 pm via Ursuline’s Facebook, YouTube, and

3. Commencement will be an individual, in person event for the graduate and four family members on either May 14 or 15. The graduate and four family members will arrive at a scheduled time to accept his or her diploma and walk across the stage at Stambaugh Auditorium. Each student’s time on stage will be filmed and edited together with other elements of the ceremony and broadcast beginning Sunday, May 24 on Ursuline’s Facebook, You Tube, and at 1:00 pm. The parents of the graduate or two relatives of the graduate’s choosing will award the diploma on stage. The other two invited guests will be seated and watching. After the graduate walks off stage, a photographer will take an individual picture of the graduate and a picture with his or her family members. Graduates will receive both pictures, as well as a class picture. After the picture, the graduate must return the rented gown. Because the graduate will return the gown after the professional pictures, family members are asked to take personal pictures before their scheduled time. In addition, the graduate and family members must wear masks to enter Stambaugh Auditorium, which may be removed while on stage and when taking photographs. Again, the maximum number of family members is four, which does not include the graduate. No exceptions will be made to this limit. In addition to the graduate and their four family members, a film crew and members of the administration will be present bringing the total number of people in the auditorium to 10. As we have done in the past, seniors will receive their diploma cover, but not the actual diploma for the filming. This is because students will not have completed their senior year until Tuesday, May 19. They must also return school-owned textbooks and other materials before they receive an Ursuline Diploma. Details are below.

To prepare for the ceremony, seniors are required to do three things:

First, schedule a time for the walk across the stage and the awarding of the diploma. Go to the Sign Up Genius page,
to reserve a time between 2:00 and 7:00 pm on May 14 or 15. These are the only two days available because other high schools are scheduled to film their graduation ceremonies. Please reserve your filming time by May 10. We will be filming three students every 15 minutes. Graduates and their families are asked to remain in their cars or outside Stambaugh Auditorium until they are called on the student’s cell phone to come in for the ceremony.

Second, seniors must pick up their cap and gown at Ursuline on Monday, May 11 between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Students must enter through the auditorium entrance. We will limit the number of students who can enter the auditorium at one time. All students must be wearing a mask. In addition to your cap, gown, tassel, and medallion, you will also receive a yard sign celebrating the Class of 2020.

Graduates will receive a commemorative Class of 2020 t-shirt on the day they come to film, May 14 or 15. Since we are unable to host a prom or dinner dance, we plan to have an in-person all-class graduation celebration when the regulations permit. No date will be set until the governor lifts the restrictions.

Third, graduates also need to schedule a time a clean out their lockers and turn in books. Go to the Sign Up Genius page to reserve a time between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm on May 26 or 27. Graduates are required to clean out their lockers and return school-owned textbooks, calculators, laptops, other books, and locks. After all materials are returned and lockers are cleaned out, the graduate will receive their official diploma. All seniors will enter through the 10 North door and return their books outside the main office. The official diploma will not be released and the official transcript will not be sent to colleges until all school-owned materials are returned to school and all financial obligations have been satisfied.

The administration and teachers share the great disappointment of the seniors in the loss of the many end-of-year events and rights of passage, but we hope these events will provide a sense of closure and a sign of our deep appreciation and love for our seniors. Thank you for your patience and support.

Go Irish,

Matthew Sammartino