Thomas Middle School

Graduation 2021 Events - Updated 5/1/21

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Dear Eighth Grade Parents/Guardians:


It is with grateful hearts that we share the plans to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and success of the Thomas Middle School eighth grade graduating class of 2021. As we are still coping with the effects of this pandemic, we are fortunate to be able to celebrate the achievements of our 8th-grade class. Keeping our school community safe and healthy is our top priority and we have gone to great lengths to carefully plan out these events while coordinating many aspects of the graduation activities with our neighboring school districts.


There are many details in this lengthy letter. Please take some time to read each item and then complete the required online GRADUATION EVENTS RSVP FORM by May 15, 2021.


PARENT ACTION ITEM: In order for us to complete the planning process, each family is required to complete this GRADUATION EVENT RSVP FORM by May 15, 2021. This form contains several important questions/items that are essential to our planning process.


GRADUATION LAWN SIGNS: 2021 graduates will be given a graduation lawn sign as a gift from TMS staff. These are available at the drive-through pick-up from 3 - 5 p.m. on Monday, May 17th located in the TMS main parking lot off of Belmont Avenue.


GRADUATION CAR PARADE: Monday, May 24th @ 3:00. An RSVP is required for this event! We will begin the 8th car parade at 3:00 p.m. for remote-only students and 3:30 for in-person students. The parade will go through the parking lot off of Thomas Street and Arlington Heights Road. To help with traffic flow, please click here for details on the parade routes. Please have your child’s first and last name displayed on your front or passenger side window so that we can announce your child’s name. Please drive slowly and do not stop during the parade. Once you have made your way through the parade you will take a right turn out of the parking lot and head eastbound on Thomas Street. This will prevent any traffic congestion. As an additional safety precaution, no families or students will be allowed to walk/bike through the parade.


8TH GRADE PICNIC PARTY & PHOTOBOOTH: Wednesday, June 2nd from 12:40-2:45 (*NEW DATE- LAST DAY OF SCHOOL & SAME DAY AS GRADUATION). An RSVP is required for this event! All 8th-grade students are invited to attend the 8th-grade picnic. The event will be outside of TMS weather permitting or inside of TMS should the weather not cooperate and masks will be required at all times, aside from the time the students are eating while seated for lunch. A photo booth will be provided by Something Blue Photography and cell phones will not be permitted at this event. It’s important to note that your child will be responsible for ensuring their social distancing from peers during this event.


GRADUATION PRACTICE: Wednesday, June 2nd beginning at approximately 7:45 a.m. This rehearsal is mandatory for all students attending the in-person graduation ceremony. Remote students are welcome to remain at school all day and participate in the afternoon picnic. An RSVP is required for this event!


GRADUATION TICKETS: Each family will be provided 4 tickets for graduation. Graduation tickets are numbered and assigned to each family and you must complete the RSVP form so we can plan for your tickets. These tickets cannot be duplicated. We kindly ask that you please do not share these tickets as tickets are intended for family members. Graduation tickets will be distributed to 8th-grade students at the end of the day on the last day of school for 8th graders, Wednesday, June 2nd. Please make sure you get your 4 tickets from your child when they return home from school.


GRADUATION IN-PERSON CEREMONY: Wednesday, June 2, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. is the date for our in-person graduation celebration with a rain date of Thursday, June 3rd at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. An RSVP is required for this event! Graduation will take place at Buffalo Grove High School in the Grant Blaney football stadium and we are planning to live-stream the ceremony as well (more details to come on that). The diplomas and ribbons will be distributed during the graduation ceremony. Graduates and their 4 guests attending the graduation ceremony are asked to adhere to safety protocols including mask-wearing and social distancing and sitting in pods of 4 during the ceremony.


VIRTUAL GRADUATION VIDEO: In the event that both the June 2nd and June 3rd live graduation events are rained out, a pre-recorded graduation video will go live on the TMS website at 7:30 p.m. on June 3rd and remain on the TMS website for one year. This video link can be shared with loved ones near and far. Your child was asked to complete a TMS virtual graduation slide during homeroom. The 8th-grade student graduation committee has been working for 3 months on preparing this graduation video for their peers. The student slides and student speeches in this video are impressive and we hope you will enjoy viewing this presentation. In the event of two rainouts, the diploma and ribbon pick-up will be available starting on Friday, June 4th - Friday, June 11th from 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the main office.


GRADUATION GUEST SEATING & HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY: Seating will be in pods of 4 per the tickets your child was given. Seating will be in chairs on the football field and in the stadium bleachers. We kindly ask that you not move the seats on the field nor share graduation tickets with other families. Your pod of 4 seating arrangement is socially distanced by 6 feet from other pods. If your family is in need of handicap accessible seating, please indicate that on the RSVP form and ground-level seating will be indicated on your tickets.


GRADUATION IN-PERSON CEREMONY ARRIVAL TIMES:

*Please note: We will start the graduation ceremony at exactly 7:30 p.m. Plan accordingly! There will be traffic in the area, as well as a crowded parking lot.

  • Graduates: The 8th grade graduates must report no later than 6:45 p.m. to the BGHS field house and can be dropped off at the BGHS entrance on Arlington Heights Road. Graduates will meet in the field house from 6:45-7:25 p.m. (Parents & guests can drop the graduate off & proceed to the parking lot.)

  • 4 Guests: The parking lots will open until 7 p.m. and the stadium doors will open at 7:05 p.m. for seating.


GRADUATION IN-PERSON CEREMONY PARKING: Buffalo Grove High School is hosting a 5:00 p.m. graduation ceremony for Cooper Middle School before our 7:30 p.m. ceremony. As a result, the BGHS parking lot will not open to TMS guests until 7 p.m. Please plan to carpool with the 4 people from your family attending the graduation. For your convenience, BGHS has secured overflow parking for us at 935 W Dundee, which is a car lot across the street east of Dakota K Auto Center. Please click here to view the attached map for specific parking details.


POST-CEREMONY INSTRUCTIONS - How will you find your graduate after the ceremony? Please plan to reunite with your graduate at your car. As a friendly reminder, we are providing professional photography during the ceremony and ask that you do not gather to take graduation photos onsite at BGHS.


GRADUATION EVENTS PHOTOGRAPHER: We have contracted with Something Blue Photography for our graduation picnic event as well as our in-person graduation ceremony. During the graduation ceremony, each graduate will be photographed after exiting the graduation stage with their diploma cover. Families can select to download photographs from the Something Blue Photography site following both events. *Please note that for safety reasons we ask that audience members not leave their seats to take photographs. In addition, graduates will exit the stadium in the processional following the ceremony and we ask that for social distancing reasons, you please do not gather for group photos.


TMS GRADUATION PHOTO BANNERS: We will provide two graduation banners that will be located at the front of the TMS main entrance the week before graduation as well as the week after graduation. Students can take photographs at these locations anytime during non-school hours and during the 8th-grade picnic as the Something Blue Photography photo booth will be available.


GRADUATION SPEECHES: In keeping with the tradition of eighth-grade graduation speeches, students will write and submit a graduation speech via ALA/ELA class. There will be one speech selected to be read at the graduation ceremony.


GRADUATION GOWNS: Gown distribution is available in the TMS main office daily from 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. All remaining gowns will be distributed at graduation practice on Wednesday, June 2.


GRADUATION ATTIRE: Students should be dressed in appropriate school attire including shoes that will be comfortable and safe on the astroturf football field. Please note that high-heeled shoes should not be worn by graduates or guests on the astroturf or in the football stands.


GRADUATION MATERIALS - DIPLOMAS, RIBBONS, CORDS & AWARDS:

  • Diplomas, ribbons, and academic awards will be distributed during the in-person graduation ceremony. If your child is not attending the in-person ceremony, graduation materials can be picked up in the school main office starting on Friday, June 4th from 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

  • The eighth-grade academic awards will be given to students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and higher. Awards will not include grades from the fourth quarter of 7th grade.

  • Cords will be distributed on Wednesday, June 2 either at graduation practice or at the end of the school day with yearbooks and graduation tickets.


8TH GRADE YEARBOOKS: Yearbooks will be distributed at the end of the school day on Wednesday, June 2nd. The PTA is selling a limited number of yearbooks for those students who did not order yearbooks yet.

(The 7th & 6th grade yearbooks will be distributed at the end of the school day on 6/11/21.)


8TH GRADE CHROMEBOOK & MATERIALS COLLECTION:

  • In-person student Chromebooks will be collected on Thursday, May 27th during social studies class.

  • Remote-only student Chromebooks and school materials will be collected on Wednesday, June 2nd upon arrival at graduation practice or by 3:00 p.m. in the main office.


SWITCH TO REMOTE LEARNING STARTING MAY 17th: Per the 4/30/21 letter, District 25 8th-grade students may move to Remote Learning if parents wish to make sure that the student will not be a close contact to a positive case at school during the last 2 weeks of school. If a parent chooses to do this, the 8th-grade student will zoom into their classes each day. Should this choice be made, parents will not be allowed to change their choice. All remote students will be allowed to attend the graduation parade 5/24/21 and the graduation practice and picnic on 6/2/21. Remote learning students are expected to adhere to all academic standards and return their Chromebook and all school materials on 6/2/21.


LAST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR 8TH GRADERS IS JUNE 2nd: Last day of school for all of our 8th-grade students will be on June 2nd. If the graduation is rained out on June 2nd, 8th-grade students will not attend school on June 3rd and should report to BGHS by 6:45 p.m. for graduation.


If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us. We are committed to honoring your child's achievements and looking forward to celebrating this milestone with our students and all of you. If you have an extenuating circumstance and would like to discuss an alternative plan for your child to receive their diploma please contact us.


Thank you,

Lori, Nick, & Greg

TMS Administrative Team

Please complete this REQUIRED RSVP FORM by 5/15/21

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