ABILENE – The Abilene Independent School District has set in-person graduation ceremonies for its three high schools for mid-July at Shotwell Stadium.

The graduation ceremonies originally scheduled for Saturday, May 23, were cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic that has shut down schools across the country – including those in Texas – for the rest of the academic year.

The district will celebrate its graduates from Abilene, Cooper and ATEMS high schools the weekend of July 17-18. Abilene High’s ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday with the graduation ceremony for ATEMS scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Cooper’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.

An inclement weather plan is in place for all three ceremonies and would either be Sunday, July 19 (for one ceremony) or July 24-25 (for multiple ceremonies). All three ceremonies will be live-streamed so those who cannot be in attendance can enjoy the festivities online.

The AISD will be consulting local health officials and following federal, state and local guidelines leading up to the scheduled ceremonies to make certain they will not be in violation of any guidelines governing group size or gatherings that might be in place at that time.

In addition to the in-person graduation ceremony in July, the AISD is partnering with KTXS-TV and 95.1 FM (The Wolf) to broadcast virtual graduation ceremonies on the weekend of the original graduation ceremonies. The Abilene High and ATEMS graduation ceremonies will be broadcast back-to-back at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 23, and Cooper’s ceremony is set for broadcast at noon on Sunday, May 24.

The district won’t be able to host other end-of-year ceremonies in person but will instead be hosting virtual ceremonies to honor the district’s top graduates and award winners.

Each of the ceremonies will be conducted either via Zoom or posted on the AISD-TV Vimeo channel so families and friends of the honorees can watch online. Links to each of the ceremonies will be posted on the AISD website and on the district’s social media channels the day of each ceremony.

The district will announce the Top 25 at Abilene High and Cooper (top 10 percent at ATEMS) at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 4. The district will host a virtual Baccalaureate ceremony on Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m., the original date and time for the in-person celebration.

And each high school will virtually celebrate its award winners on the dates those in-person ceremonies were originally scheduled: ATEMS at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 18; Cooper at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20; and Abilene High at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 21.