High school graduation season is officially underway.
Festivities kicked off Tuesday with a ceremony honoring graduates of Saint Gertrude High School, an all-girls school in the Museum District, at the Siegel Center, commencing a season of celebration for students and their families — and some frustration for Broad Street drivers.
Between now and June 16, 24 schools will hold their graduation ceremonies at the Siegel Center, prompting police to prepare for the influx in traffic.
Virginia Commonwealth University Police and the Richmond Police Department will be directing traffic at about a dozen intersections, including the ones near Exit 76B (Belvidere Street) off Interstate-95 and along Belvidere and Broad streets west to Hermitage Road.
There will be digital signs encouraging local drivers to take alternate routes.
Law enforcement has put up no-parking signs along West Marshall Street between Bowe and North Harrison streets behind the Siegel Center — an area reserved for buses to drop off graduates. Towing enforcement started Tuesday.
Here’s the schedule for ceremonies at the Siegel Center:
- 10 a.m.: Clover Hill (Chesterfield)
- 2:30 p.m.: Manchester (Chesterfield)
- 7 p.m.: Cosby (Chesterfield)
- 10 a.m.: Meadowbrook (Chesterfield)
- 2:30 p.m.: L.C. Bird (Chesterfield)
- 7 p.m.: Thomas Dale (Chesterfield)
- 10 a.m.: Monacan (Chesterfield)
- 2:30 p.m.: James River (Chesterfield)
- 7 p.m.: Midlothian (Chesterfield)
Tuesday, June 12
- 11 a.m.: J.R. Tucker (Henrico)
- 3 p.m.: Glen Allen (Henrico)
- 7 p.m.: Hermitage (Henrico)
Wednesday, June 13
- 11 a.m.: Henrico (Henrico)
- 3 p.m.: Highland Springs (Henrico)
- 7 p.m.: Varina (Henrico)
Thursday, June 14
- 11 a.m.: Douglas Freeman (Henrico)
- 3 p.m.: Mills Godwin (Henrico)
- 7 p.m.: Deep Run (Henrico)
Friday, June 15
- 1 p.m.: ECPI (the lone college graduation during this stretch)
- 7 p.m.: New Kent (New Kent)
Saturday, June 16
- 8:30 a.m.: Atlee (Hanover)
- Noon: Lee-Davis (Hanover)
- 3:30 p.m.: Hanover (Hanover)
- 7 p.m.: Patrick Henry (Hanover)
While the surrounding counties hold their graduation ceremonies at the Siegel Center, most Richmond Public Schools seniors will graduate at the Altria Theater.
The school division is holding three ceremonies each on June 12 and June 13, with two commencements on June 14.
Huguenot High School will kick off the RPS graduation season with its 1 p.m. June 12 ceremony at Altria, followed by two other comprehensive high schools: Armstrong at 4 p.m. and Marshall at 7:30 p.m.
The same time slots are reserved for June 13, with Community High School, George Wythe and Thomas Jefferson seniors graduating in that order.
Franklin Military Academy’s ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m. on June 14 and Open High School’s will come four hours later. The FMA ceremony will be at Colburn Hall on the campus of Virginia Union University and Open’s will be at VUU’s Allix James Chapel.
The valedictorians of RPS include a hairstylist, robotics team captain and a future doctor. Some schools have multiple valedictorians because of a grade point average calculation issue that led to RPS administrators recalculating GPAs while committing to not lowering a student’s class rank.
The valedictorians are:
Open High School (2)
Shavae’ Ward (4.92 GPA) and Natalie Duke (4.65 GPA).
Thomas Jefferson High School
Kasey Chapman (4.79 GPA)
Huguenot High School (2)
Itzel Jimenez (4.71 GPA) and Irene Andrade (4.48 GPA)
Richmond Community High School
Taylor Hendrick (4.67 GPA)
John Marshall High School
Deshon Turner (4.28 GPA)
Armstrong High School
Shakira Blackwell (4.23 GPA)
George Wythe High School
Rocio Aquino (4.0 GPA)
Franklin Military Academy
D’Jarnae Clark (3.75 GPA)