This time of year is synonymous with the end of school and graduation! Due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country – including Simon Youth Academies – are unable to hold traditional, in-person graduation ceremonies this year. While some school districts are abandoning these events, SYF Academy Leaders are taking the challenge on.

Just as Simon Youth Academy teachers go above and beyond to help their students reach graduation day, they have gone to great lengths to make sure the students have a celebration during unprecedented circumstances.

You see, many Simon Youth Academy students had given up on the idea of ever “crossing the stage” to receive that high school diploma. Earning their diploma – in spite of a global pandemic! – makes this achievement even more significant, and their teachers know it.

We see it, the teachers see it and SYF wants to make sure you see it too! Here are just a few examples of how Simon Youth Academy educators are making sure the Class of 2020 is celebrated for their achievements and this milestone.

Simon Youth Academy at McKinley High School (Kokomo, IN) recognizes the importance of students being able to put on a cap and gown and physically walk across the stage. The Academy has modified their ceremony so that students and their families can still gather for graduation. The Academy will conduct an in-person, social distancing ceremony (masks and all!). Remarks will be delivered by staff to their graduates and students will walk through the gym one by one at a dedicated time to receive their diplomas and other senior awards.

SYF’s Nashville (TN) Academies: Simon Youth Academy at Opry Mills, Simon Youth Academy at Hickory Hollow and Simon Youth Academy at Old Cockrill are celebrating graduates by hosting drive-through graduation ceremonies where principals and teachers will award an SYF scholarship in a box to scholarship recipients as they drive through with their families.

Simon Youth Academy at Rose Tree Media (Media, PA) and Simon Youth Academy at Circle Centre Mall (Indianapolis, IN) teachers are collecting photos, videos, and also recording messages of congratulations to create slides shows and/or YouTube videos to share with students and families, ensuring the memories live on long after graduation day.

Simon Youth Academy at Outlet Marketplace (Orlando, FL) and Simon Youth Academies at Port Charlotte Town Center (Port Charlotte, FL) are taking a page from Publishers Clearing House – scholarship recipients will receive a special home delivery of their SYF scholarship by their teachers! Teachers will record the delivery of scholarships and take photos to share with the graduate and their families.

SYF is proud of Simon Youth Academy leaders who go beyond expectations to continue to recognize the accomplishments of their graduates, and all their students, despite the circumstances, ensuring that #SYFmeansGraduation – no matter what.

SYF will share highlights from Simon Youth Academy graduation celebrations as they take place over the next few weeks through the end of June.

To help SYF celebrate and reach even more students, you can make a donation in honor of a graduate by visiting donate.syf.org/2020Graduate.