Senior Awards & Graduation Events

June 24th, 2020 | News

Dear Class of 2020 families,

Padua has been working diligently with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) to have our events compliant with current health policy.  As you know this is a changing situation.  I’m writing to give you an update on our Mid-July activities and I am happy to announce that our plans are continuing to progress with exciting and approved plans.  Even though some of these events will look different from the past, the spirit and traditions of Padua Franciscan will be upheld.

The three main informational points are:

  1. The Awards Banquet registration and payment link is included here.  Please complete by July 5th (
  2.  Due to overwhelming response and limited seating at the church, our Baccalaureate Mass is ONLY for graduating seniors and parents. No other family members are permitted.
  3. Graduation will not be held at Holy Family due to highly restrictive seating. That being said, we have two scenarios, both at the Padua Campus on July 16 at 7 pm. These options include a currently approved ceremony and one other possible option if “mass gatherings” are permitted. See details below.

 First and foremost, thank you for filling out the survey.  I am happy to say that there is a great amount of interest in both the Awards Banquet and the Baccalaureate Mass.  

Senior Awards Banquet, Sunday July 12, 2020 at Saint Michael’s Woodside. Ticket purchases are available now online through the link above.  The cost is $35 (plus a processing fee). This is a dress up affair, suits and prom dresses are appropriate.  Seniors will need to have masks for certain times during this event including arrival and departure.  Seniors should arrive between 5:30 pm and 6 pm.  There will be no pre-arranged seating assignments.  Seating is first come, first serve. Dinner will be held from 6pm until 7pm, followed by the awards ceremony from 7 pm until approximately 8:30pm. The ceremony will include the announcement of all the major Padua awards and include the Salutatorian address. The entire awards assembly will be live streamed for families to be virtually present.  

Baccalaureate Mass, July 14, 2020 at Saint Anthony’s Church. In order to meet health policies at Saint Anthony’s Church this Mass will ONLY be for seniors and their parents. We will be able to safely accommodate this group with social distancing, but unfortunately no other family members will be permitted. I am very thankful that we still can come together for this meaningful event even though we are limited in number. Our president, Father Allan will be the presider.  Mass will begin at 7pm and doors will be open at 6:15pm.  Each family will be escorted to a pew upon arrival.  All seating is first come, first served.  All attendees are required to wear a mask covering and to maintain social distancing at all times, including arrival and departure.  This will be a videotaped event.  

Graduation, July 16, 2020 on the Campus of Padua Franciscan and St. Anthony’s Church. As I’ve said before we want our graduation to be as live and traditional as possible. Due to the incredible restrictive numbers permitted in churches and other indoor venues, we will not be able to utilize Holy Family Church.  Therefore, we have decided to present outdoor options to the Health Board for approval.  We currently have two plans in place. Based on current guidelines, we have been approved by the CCBH for the following plan.  We will set up a stage between Saint Anthony’s parking lot and Padua High School, with Padua as the backdrop.  Graduating seniors, in caps and gowns, will meet prior to the event to be individually health checked.  Seniors will need to wear face coverings.  Seniors will process in to chairs setup on the parking lot in front of the stage, socially distanced apart.   Families, in cars will be parked in rows towards the stage to observe the ceremony. We will have a large LCD screen with a live telecast feed so that you can see the entire ceremony. Photographers will be in place to capture the moments and a livestream of the event will be aired on our YouTube channel. The entire ceremony will be transmitted to your car radio so that you can hear names, the program, and the Commencement speaker as well as the valedictorian speech.  During the ceremony, each graduating senior, with their mask removed, will be called by name and receive their diploma on stage.  I am very happy that we were able to get this plan approved. That being said, if the governor allows for “larger mass gatherings” we will move this event to the front of Padua overlooking the baseball fields. Similarly, the stage would be setup outside our Padua main entrance. Students will be placed in chairs on the parking lot and families will be able to bring chairs and sit social distanced out on the field. Everything else will be as described above including live streaming, sound systems, and a large LCD screen. Because of current guidelines that prevent us from mass gatherings, this second plan has not yet been approved.   Both plans for graduation are outside and susceptible to weather conditions.  In order to have the best possible event, we have set a weather date for July 15. This was the closest alternative day available to reserve the needed large AV equipment.  We will announce our decision, based on forecasts, on Monday, July 13th.  If at all possible, it is our desire to maintain the Thursday, July 16 date.  I will send final details to you, including parking instructions, and event expectations the week of July 6th.  

I so appreciate your flexibility and understanding throughout this entire process.  I especially want to thank Tom Barsa ’86 and Gerry Scott ’95, both Board of Health employees and great Bruins, for all their guidance and assistance throughout the pandemic.  I am hopeful that we will receive more positive information in the days to come to help solidify our graduation decision.  Of course, if anything drastically changes we will be ready to adapt if needed.  I pray that God continues to watch over you and your family and provides us with all we need to be Happy, Healthy, Holy, and Highly Prepared.  Have a great day, and as always, Go Bruins!

Peace & All Good!
Mr. David Stec ’86