Had Tombstone High School held its commencement program as scheduled, it would have happened May 21.

If all goes according to plan, the high school will be holding its graduation sometime in June, hoping for as traditional a commencement program as possible, given the current social distancing guidelines.

Not long after schools across the state closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, governing boards and administrators started looking at alternative formats for graduation ceremonies. Many turned to drive-in events and parades, in keeping with CCD guidelines.

But Tombstone Unified School District Governing Board members voted to wait things out, at least for now.

“We’re hoping the state’s school closure mandate will loosen up enough to hold a graduation ceremony on the high school football field as in years past, with friends and family members there to celebrate the event with the graduates,” said Tombstone High School Principal David Thursby.

In the meantime, the high school came up with a token graduation for the Class of 2020.

“Since tonight (Thursday) would have been the night of their graduation, we wanted to do something special for our graduates,” Thursby said. “So we partnered with Texas Roadhouse and Chili’s restaurants to provide each graduate and two guests a dinner from Texas Roadhouse and desserts from Chili’s.”

The graduates were treated to the dinners and desserts as a curbside service.

“I know it’s not the big graduation ceremony they were expecting, but at least we were able to arrange this with the two restaurants,” said Thursby, who added that the THS Class of 2020 is the largest in the school’s history.

“This is a special group of graduates, so they deserve special treatment. It’s the first time in the history of Tombstone High School that we’ve had more than 100 graduates,” Thursby said.

“And this class has received more scholarship money than any other class, with more than a million dollars in renewable scholarships. This is a great group of graduates and I’m proud of all of them.”

Tombstone’s top 10 graduates include Valedictorian Kathryn Hazel and Salutatorian Brinley Carrillo, and the following students listed in alphabetical order: Emma Fisher, Madison Frodsham, Lachlan Gee, Charles Griesemer, Jasmine Jacquay, Hope Marshall, Gienezza Melendez and Heather Wilson.

As soon as the school district irons out a few details in how it plans to proceed with graduation, those plans will be announced, Thursby said.

“We submitted the graduation plan on May 20, and we’re now waiting to get it approved. Once we know dates, times and special guidelines, we’re going to send a letter out to parents. With social distancing and masks, it’s going to look different than what we’ve had in the past, but we’re hoping to make this as traditional as possible for our graduates.”

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