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Graduation 2021

Class of 2021 Parents:

We are all looking forward to our 89th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 29, 2021. Since we  continue to adhere to our appropriate COVID-19 protocols, I thought it would be prudent to share our vision of the day to help set expectations and share more details.

Arrival: Graduates should arrive by 7:45 a.m. for the traditional senior photo in front of Bolles Hall.  Graduates should go directly to the bleachers with masks on as they line up and may then remove their masks briefly for the photo. Graduates should then join their families on the River Campus in each family pod.

Ceremony: Graduation will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. Please allow time to park and find your reserved seats. We ask that families prioritize keeping appropriate physical distances (6 feet) and minimize contact with any shared surfaces at all times while on campus including during arrival and dismissal.

Parking: We ask, when possible, for families to travel in one vehicle. Please enter campus through the main entrance on San Jose Boulevard. Security will then direct you where to park in front of Bolles Hall.

Seating: Proceed to the River Campus by walking to the left side of Bolles Hall and around to the back.  Once there, signs with each graduate's name will identify the reserved space for each family. The signs are in alphabetical order and begin closest to the pavilion. Each family "pod" has the number of chairs reserved for that family. Please do not move chairs and continue to keep safe distancing. (View map representing the River Campus here.)

Graduate Chair: Each graduate will find at their chair a boutonniere (boys) or rose (girls) and a program in addition to any awards your graduate may have received.

Ceremony: When the diploma awarding portion of the ceremony begins, I will ask the graduate and parents to walk forward together to the identified waiting areas to the right of the stage. We will go in alphabetical order. When their individual name is called, the graduate will walk up the right side (closest to pavilion) of the stage to pick up their diploma. Parents will walk in front of the stage and may stop to see the awarding of the diploma up close and take a picture of the graduate on stage if they would like. Additionally, a professional photo will be taken of the graduate with their diploma. The graduate will exit off the left side of the stage and rejoin his or her parents. Families should then walk to the Class of '46 Band Shell where another photographer will be waiting to take a family photo.  Families should then return to their seats. The professional photos will be mailed to each graduate and are complimentary.

Dismissal: At the conclusion of the ceremony, please try to avoid a crowd from forming and maintain physical distancing.

Live Streaming: We have offered a live streaming option for several years, but now it has become even more important. Please let all family and friends know to go to the news section of Bolles.org in order to view the ceremony. Following the event, you may order a DVD of the ceremony through Easy Edit Video. 

Photos: Some of you have asked about visiting campus with your senior during the coming weeks to commemorate this special time with a photo session. We are happy to allow this. While the campus remains closed, seniors and their parents may be on campus to take photographs May 10-13 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. If these spots fill, we will add additional dates and times. In consideration of current physical distancing guidelines, we ask that this visit be for graduate photos only and that it not be an opportunity to convene with groups or friends. Photo locations are in front of Bolles Hall or on the River Campus. All buildings, including Bolles Hall, will remain closed to visitors – including graduates and their parents.

In order to limit the number of people on campus and to give you and your family the opportunity to best utilize campus settings, we have created a sign-up form HERE for scheduling photo sessions during the week of May 10-13. Campus access will only be offered to those who have signed up for slots and the campus security officers will have this list at the Welcome Center. If you plan to use a professional photographer, please get a copy of their certificate of insurance listing Bolles as an additional insured and submit to upchurchd@Bolles.org. This will need to be submitted prior to your scheduled appointment. 

Photos will also be available through Grad Images following the ceremony.  They will be in touch with you through email and mail.

Other Notes:

  • Available restrooms include those on the River Patio and in the portico of McGehee Auditorium. Bolles Hall and other campus buildings will not be open.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in a variety of locations on the River Campus.
  • Masks are required when 6 feet of distance between individuals (other than family members) is not possible. 
  • Water bottles will be available, but we also encourage you to bring your own water if you would like.

Each of us realize this is not an ideal situation, and sincerely wish that we were not having to make these adjustments to the ceremony. We spent a tremendous amount of time discussing the feasibility of expanding the number of attendees, but in the end felt that limiting the participants to six for each family (including graduate) was most appropriate. We ask that you please respect our decision and honor this requirement. Our emphasis throughout the planning process has been to give graduates an opportunity to celebrate on campus and in person. I feel that we have struck a fair balance between the ideal and what is prudent while continuing to follow our guidelines.

Lastly, it is critical if you have symptoms or have been around a symptomatic person (or someone who has tested positive for COVID-19) that you stay home. Now is certainly not the time for us to relax. You can best honor all of the graduates, guests and faculty-staff by staying at home and joining online.

I hope this outline has helped assure you of what to expect and the steps we have taken to provide a ceremony in the safest way possible. I hope you know that we are trying our best to make sure the Class of 2021 is celebrated energetically, thoughtfully and most importantly, safely. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we regale the 89th graduating class of The Bolles School. Congratulations again on your graduating senior.

Respectfully,
Tyler Hodges
President and Head of School

P.S. Don't forget to look in the Florida Times-Union on May 29 for our ad tribute to our graduates and online at Jacksonville.com!!

Celebrating Seniors

#CelebratingBollesSeniors: We want to showcase our strong and resilient Bolles seniors this spring and we need your help to make it happen! As soon as possible...All Things Possible...please send us three photos of your senior that well represent their Bolles experience. Maybe it’s a team photo, or a picture from Homecoming or a performance — we’re looking for anything that shows your student doing what they love at School. Lastly, we need a response from your senior to one of the following prompts: What are your best Bolles memories? Or…What do you love about Bolles? Please send the photo and comments to Susanna Barton at bartons@bolles.org. Let’s celebrate our seniors loud and proud! #AllThingsPossible2021 #Bolles20WON