Belton High School Class of 2020

  • 6.19.20 Commencement communication…

    We’ll acknowledge this message is lengthy, but due to current circumstances, the lack of opportunity to meet in person over the spring semester, and the use of a new venue, there is much we need to share.  Please do take the time to familiarize yourself with the information provided.

    Stating the obvious…  it is complicated. The situation that is.  

    We, among many in the community, so desperately want to provide “our Class of 2020” with a face-to-face “Commencement Ceremony.”  We recognize across the country and globe, there are those who are re-opening and doing so in a variety of ways.  We acknowledge so much of how one goes about their business is being politicized and candidly, we hate it. Ours is no political statement.

    Simply put, we do not wish to be reckless and then, have made a decision that contributes to another’s pain, frustration, and “one more thing” for which to be concerned. We look to the numbers, local health agencies, consider possible options and determine an opportunity that best meets the desire for the activity. 

    As a reminder, our Board of Education made the decision to provide an outdoor activity to occur on Saturday, June 27 at Southwick Stadium.  Sunday, June 28 will serve as the “backup” date should weather make Saturday unworkable. Survey results reveal we should expect approximately 3200 guests in addition to the roughly 400 students and staff who could choose to participate.  Therefore, our plan to manage the event and to both promote and support the recommendations tied to social distancing does involve hosting two ceremonies.  We appreciate that everyone has made the best decision for themselves and their loved ones regarding attendance at the event and we count on everyone to be both personally and socially responsible for the health and well-being of all. 

    Commencement 2020 - Ceremony 1… 8:30 a.m.  &  Ceremony 2…  11:00 a.m.  Roughly a week ago, graduates and their families were asked to identify “a ‘best’ session” for themselves.  Once again, we are pleased to announce that for those who submitted a request by the June 15 deadline, the graduate has been assigned to their preferred ceremony time. Thank you for your response. Total responses prior to June 15 represent over 85% of all graduates. (Note: There are those who are either unable or have chosen not to participate.) All remaining graduates who do wish to participate, but have not responded, are asked to do so via email. Given the numbers, there is still space available for you to be included in the 8:30 a.m. ceremony.  This 8:30 a.m. assignment preserves the opportunity to provide for social distancing.

    We do respect varying opinions. Regardless, we do ask everyone to adopt an “others first” mentality for the event and honor the guidelines we provide regarding social distancing.  Furthermore, we expect all will give strong consideration to wear a mask. We’d hope, for this special occasion, our community will adopt the…  “I’ll wear mine for you while you wear yours for me” mindset.

    Thank you.

    Phil Clark

    Belton High School, Principal

    Some important things to share about Commencement 2020...

    • Our genuine love for our graduates, their family members, and the community of Belton.
    • The efforts undertaken by those coordinating the event to promote “safety first” for all present.
    • As previously stated, there will be two separate hour-long ceremonies.
      • Ceremony 1 - 8:30 a.m.    - Vehicle access to campus 7:15 - 8:45 a.m.
      • Ceremony 2 - 11:00 a.m.  - Vehicle access to campus begins at 10:10 a.m.
      • Simply put…   To support the transition between the two ceremonies, there will be no vehicle access onto campus between 8:45 and 10:10 a.m.
    • Given the challenges associated with assembly…  Aside from those who are directly involved in the production of our Commencement 2020, there is no ceremony rehearsal.
    • All graduates and BSD staff will be provided with a customized and reusable mask.  It is gray in color with the outline of a purple pirate on it.
    • Disposable masks will be available to all guests in attendance upon request.  We strongly encourage and thank everyone for their consideration to wear one.
    • We thank you.

    Some of the details…


      • All who wish to enter the Southwick Stadium must have obtained an “event wristband.”
    • Wearing the “event wristband” is the equivalent of a ticket for admission.
    • To obtain a wristband… everyone will have submitted to having their temperature taken and have a temperature reading at or below 100.4 degrees.
    • Temperature readings will be obtained through the use of a non-contact “Infrared Forehead Thermometer” which collects a reading within one second.
    • Belton School District staff and some volunteers will collect readings at designated sites and will provide an “event wristband” to all who qualify to receive one.
      • For specific information about how/when one will obtain their “event wristband,” continue reading and see the chart below.
    • Each device was calibrated immediately after its removal from the box and tested in extreme temperature settings.
    • Again, all who wish to enter Southwick Stadium for Commencement 2020 must be wearing an “event wristband.”   Note: Meeting the temperature criteria to receive and wear an “event wristband” is a non-negotiable. Those not meeting the criteria will be asked to leave the premises. We trust there will be “good-natured” compliance.
    • Thank you for your cooperation.

    Graduates…   some important things for you to know.

    • You are loved!
    • There will be no formal rehearsal.
    • Again, all who wish to enter the Southwick Stadium must have obtained an “event wristband.”    Wearing the “event wristband” is the equivalent of a ticket for admission.
    • Please plan to arrive at check-in no later than thirty minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.  
      • 8:00 a.m. for Ceremony 1  -or- 10:30 for Ceremony 2.   
      • Please plan to take care of any bathroom needs ahead of this arrival.
    • Check-in will occur at the southwest entrance to Southwick Stadium.  Report to the area south of the west bleachers.
    • Attire…
      • Historically, we’ve outlined a different set of expectations for apparel to be worn under the cap and gown.  However, based upon the time of year, the location… a turf field, and the likelihood of higher temperatures, we encourage everyone to use good judgment and to dress for comfort.  (This would not include one electing to wear a swimsuit - smile.) 
      • Additionally, to protect your ankles, your pride and the turf, please do not wear high heels. 
    • Please do press/iron gown for graduation.
    • Cap and Tassel…
    • The tassel is to be worn on the right side until the command is given to “Move your tassel.”   This “turning of the tassel” in unison represents the “Class who graduates together.”  In the Belton tradition, this command will be given just prior to the singing of the Alma Mater.    The cap should be worn level on the head, so it is flat on top.
    • It is advisable for those with longer hair to secure their graduation cap with a bobby pin.  If you don’t have them available or simply forget, extra bobby pins & safety pins will be available upon request near the check-in table.
    • For this event and consistent with our Belton High School tradition, we sincerely hope all will recognize themselves to be a part of the Class of 2020 and avoid drawing individual attention as a result of an appearance that is inconsistent with the description provided above.  Furthermore, Please…  No Decorations on your Cap or Gown.   (This would include corsages, signs, attachments, etc.)

    What to expect upon check-in...

    • You will be provided with…
      • A customized Pirate mask.
      • Your name card. (You’ll keep this with you throughout the ceremony until you present it to the reader immediately prior to your opportunity to walk across the stage.)
      • An “instructions” card which provides some basic information about the ceremony and what will be expected of you.
    • After you’ve addressed the items at check in, you’ll be directed to report to one of two zones behind the Scoreboard whereby you’ll remain and receive further directions from our staff marshal(s).

    See map which reveals parking and “temperature check” stations…   


    • The parking spaces located on the west side of Southwick Stadium will be reserved as handicapped parking for those who display a tag/sticker.  Additionally, Belton School District staff and distinguished guests who display a staff parking tag will also be afforded spaces in this lot. 
    • Aside from those spaces which have been cordoned off for purposes of “temperature testing,” the lots located immediately north of the stadium and those which surround the building are all available. 

    Facilities access and seating…

    • Belton High School as well as the buildings at Southwick Stadium will not be open to the public.
    • The bathroom facilities located inside the stadium will remain open throughout both ceremonies.
      • Bathroom facilities will receive a “quick clean” frequently throughout both ceremonies and a “thorough cleaning” between the two.
    • Upon entry, attendees will notice areas within and across the bleacher seating have been designated as “Pirate Sword length” space to encourage/remind one another of social distancing.
    • Accessible seating: Unfortunately, the elevator which is designed to provide access to the upper section continues to be unreliable despite efforts to have it repaired. A ramp is available to the first level and there will be some reserved seating on the track on both sides of the football field.
    • Hand sanitizing stations will be available in strategically placed locations. 

    Emergency & discomfort care arrangements…

    • MedAct will be on site throughout the morning and located in the southwest corner of the stadium.
    • Considering the potential for the impact of heat, both… water stations and “wet cloth” stations will be strategically located in the bleachers and along the sidelines. These are made available for those who experience discomfort tied to the conditions.
    • Cooling tents will be available behind the bleachers on both sides of the stadium.  These stations will provide a place to rest as well as hydrate in proximity to one with some first aid background.

    The Commencement Ceremony...

    • Each ceremony is expected to last approximately one hour.
    • Both ceremonies will be livestreamed by Zimmerman Productions.
    • Interpreting services are available for those who are deaf or hearing impaired.
    • Each element within the ceremony will have designs which support social distancing.
    • Immediately following each ceremony, graduates and their guests will be reminded to report to their respective vehicles and to congregate somewhere other than campus for photos and fellowship. 

    Ceremony 1 - 8:30 a.m.

    Ceremony 2 - 11:00 a.m.

    Temperature testing and receipt of the “event wristband” occurs

    7:15 - 8:20 a.m.

    *9:00 - 10:50 a.m.

    *Reminder…  Access to campus is denied until 10:10 a.m.  Please plan accordingly.

    (Naturally, we’re hopeful families will determine what works best for them and it will result in testing to occur over the roughly two hour time stretch.)

    Testing site(s)

    *Belton HS… 

    See map for locations.

    *These are “walk up” sites designated by a string of flags.

    *Mill Creek Upper Elementary…

    See map for locations.

    *All will remain inside the vehicle throughout the process.

    Guest entry

    Main gate - north end.

    Handicapped access - west side.

    Main gate - north end.

    Handicapped access - west side.

    Graduates entry/check in

    Please plan to arrive to check in no later than 8:00 a.m.

    (You’ll want to take care of any bathroom needs ahead of this arrival.)

    Southwest entrance to the stadium near the MedAct station/vehicle.

    Note 1:  If you did not obtain an “event wristband” from a testing site in one of the aforementioned lots, you’ll have your temperature tested prior to your check in.

    Note 2: Upon arrival, you’ll report to an information table where you’ll receive additional instructions. You’ll be expected to remain in the area to the south of the football field… behind the scoreboard to prepare for the ceremony.

    Please plan to arrive to check in no later than 10:30 a.m.  

    (You’ll want to take care of any bathroom needs ahead of this arrival.)

    Southwest entrance to the stadium.

    Note 1:  If you did not obtain an “event wristband” from a testing site in one of the aforementioned lots, you’ll have your temperature tested prior to your check in.

    Note 2: Upon arrival, you’ll report to an information table where you’ll receive additional instructions. You’ll be expected to remain in the area to the south of the football field… behind the scoreboard to prepare for the ceremony.

    Vehicle Access to Campus 

    Denied after 8:40 a.m.

    Denied until 10:10 a.m.


    Begins at 8:30 a.m.

    Begins at 11:00 a.m.


    Begins at ~ 9:30 a.m.

    Begins at ~ 12:00 p.m.

    Campus is vacated

    ~ 10:00 a.m.

    ~ 12:30 p.m.


    • As a reminder, all guests are asked to be sensitive to the people around them. The areas considered “off limits” prior to, during and after the ceremony do include: the football field and the area south of the field behind the scoreboard.

    Pearce Photographics…   

    • Consider taking advantage of having a professional photographer “capture the moment.”
    • During the ceremony, Pearce Photographics (, 816-331-8586) will take two photographs of every graduate.  The first...a pose with the student holding a diploma cover.  This will be taken moments before their name is called.  The second...a shot of the special moment when the student officially walks across the stage and is acknowledged by the representative Board of Education member.  Please review the order form located on the last page of this packet, or use the link above to complete your order online.


    • Reminder…   All financial obligations must be paid in full and all school property returned prior to receiving one’s diploma. 
    • For those graduates who have satisfied all outstanding financial obligations with the Belton School District prior to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, their diplomas will be mailed to the address found in Parent Portal on Monday, June 29.
    • For those who have not, we look forward to hearing from you in order to resolve the situation and arrange for a follow-up mailing. 

    An acknowledgment…

    • A special thank you to the Belton Police Department and the Belton Emergency Management Agency (BEMA) for their collaboration and commitment to assist with our Commencement 2020 Ceremonies.
    • Traffic patterns on campus and adjacent to campus have been carefully arranged in coordination with our Belton Police Department.

Senior-Specific Messaging

  • June 19 Commencement Update

  • June 12 Commencement Update

  • June 1 Commencement Update

  • Mid-May Commencement News

  • Seniors Process for Collections - 5.12.2020

  • Seniors Update - 5.6.2020

  • Senior Yard Sign Design
    Missed getting a yard sign? Email!

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