End of the Year Plans for Seniors

Class of 2020

Dear Seniors and Senior Parents/Guardians: 

We hope you and your families are well. We continue to monitor orders from the Governor and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while we work to find a way for our seniors to graduate with the recognition they deserve. 

Based on the current situation, we will not be able to have a commencement program on Friday, June 5, 2020.  

We have considered many ideas, some of which were submitted by our students and parents. The creativity has been amazing. However, we would really like to have a somewhat normal commencement program if at all possible. Our best chance at being able to have a commencement program is to delay the event. Unfortunately, this will be problematic for some of our students. We have a number of students who will be serving in our armed forces and will start their service soon after the school year.  We also have students with other commitments that will make them unavailable after the school year.

Therefore we are going to do our best to try to serve and respect all of our seniors.  

Senior Awards Night

The Butler community supports its graduating seniors with scholarships like few other communities do. Senior Awards Night, when the winners of these scholarships are announced, typically occurs in late May. We will not be able to do this in person, but a taped program of these announcements will be broadcast on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. on the district's website. Additionally, we are working with Armstrong Cable Channel and Butler Radio to broadcast the program.

Official Graduation Date

Seniors will officially be considered Butler Area School District graduates on June 5, 2020.

Prerecorded Virtual Commencement Program

We will broadcast a prerecorded virtual commencement program including speeches, music and a slideshow of seniors on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. on the district's website. Additionally, we are working with Armstrong Cable Channel and Butler Radio to broadcast the program.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns will be distributed at the senior high on Thursday, May 28 (last names A-M)  and Friday, May 29 (last names N-Z).  More specific instructions will be coming in a separate communication. Honors Graduates and Honors Graduates with Distinction will receive their cords and/or medallions when they come to the auditorium at the diploma ceremony (details on the diploma ceremony in the next section below).

Awarding Diplomas

Seniors will have the opportunity to receive their diplomas during individualized mini diploma ceremonies in the Senior High auditorium on the following dates

  • Wednesday, June 3rd from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 4th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
  • Friday, June 5th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

School and District administration representatives will be present. Seniors should wear their cap and gown. Each senior may bring six “audience” members with them, one of whom can be designated to record the event. We would like parents or another family member of the graduate’s choosing to actually award the diploma on stage as the graduate’s name is announced.  The district will have a photographer present. 

To help facilitate this process, we will ask you to designate your preferred date and time slot. A link to sign up for a half hour time slot on one of the dates listed above will be emailed and posted to our website on Thursday, May 14 at 6:00 p.m. 

Commencement Ceremony

If it is possible, we would still like to hold a traditional commencement program.  We are setting a date of Wednesday, July 15, 2020 and a rain date of July 16, 2020.  The rain date is because we don’t believe we would be able to have a large indoor group gathering in the case of inclement weather. 

This event will be our normal commencement program with the alteration that each student will have already received their diploma. Therefore, each student will be recognized by name and acknowledged by all attendees as they walk across the center of the field. 

It is possible, if congregant group sizes are limited, that this will be a senior only event with no spectators. If that is the case, we would attempt to stream the program live. We will be asking seniors to indicate on June 5th if they would be interested in participating in a ceremony of July 15, 2020.  


If it is possible, we would still like to have a prom. Prom will be on Monday, July 13, 2020. If large congregant groups are permitted, we will hold prom on Monday, July 13, 2020 at Butler Community College.  If indoor large congregant groups are not permitted, but large outdoor congregant groups are permitted, we will have a parking lot prom at the Senior High School on Monday, July 13, 2020 with a rain date of Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

Graduation Song

You can help us honor this year’s graduates by singing in the Butler Virtual Choir. This video explains what you have to do to be included. Please email Dr. Bryan Helsel with any questions: bryan_helsel@butler.k12.pa.us. Thanks for your help making this year’s graduation special! 


As you can see, we are hoping for the best.  However, we will follow the guidelines that exist at the time of these scheduled events. 

I hope you and your families remain safe and well.  Thank you for your continued patience and support.


Brian J. White, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Butler Area School District

John Wyllie, Ed.D.
Principal, Senior High School

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