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PAISD, Nederland & PNG officials talk graduation plans and strategies

Graduation plans for hundreds of local seniors are still up in the air as officials wait for more information from state and federal leaders.

Port Arthur Independent School District Superintendent Mark Porterie said the district has a tentative plan but wants to wait until state and local leaders, as well as Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, provide more guidance.

Then, once they have read and understand the guidelines, PAISD will move forward.

The district has 465 graduating seniors.

“(Graduation) will definitely not be face-to-face, but I think the community and the students will be proud of it,” Porterie said. “We’re putting a lot of work and money into it. We want to make it really nice for this since this is the 2020 graduates that have gone through a whole lot. This set of students went through Harvey and Imelda, an explosion and a pandemic.”

Porterie elaborated a bit, saying students would not be able to get up and hug one another but it would be more of a personal graduation – “we will see them and we will all be together and be able to eye each of our graduates and congratulate them individually.”

NISD

Nederland High School has several dates in mind for a ceremony for its 336 graduating seniors — June 23 and July 21 at Ford Park in Beaumont.

Assistant superintendent Stuart Kieschnick said officials are meeting this week to decide on a date, with two potential summer dates set aside.

“Our goal is to have a face-to-face graduation if at all possible,” Kieschnick said. “If it’s not possible, we will look at different alternatives.”

PNGISD

Port Neches-Groves Independent School District Superintendent Mike Gonzales said the district has several dates set aside in case school leaders need to push the original date back.

“Dr. (Scott) Ryan and his high school administration staff is working on a plan to possibly accommodate our graduates and their families,” Gonzales said. “Of course, all plans our preliminary and subject to change. It is important to note that we are still subject to any restrictions our governor and local officials place on our community.

“The health and safety of our community is extremely important, and we must consider every ounce of information when making this decision.”

The district is planning to have a possible graduation for the 365 seniors at Indian Stadium, which allows officials to accommodate any scheduled changes that may occur.

School officials have set aside the following dates for a possible graduation: May 21, June 11, June 25, July 16 and July 23.