With more than 11,000 high school seniors in the School District of Palm Beach County receiving their diplomas this month, getting a ticket to see the pomp and circumstance in person can be tough.
Thanks to The Education Network, no one needs to miss the minute their favorite graduate crosses the stage. The District’s television network is providing live broadcasts of graduations for 30 schools, both online and on television.
“The district thought it was important to stream graduations so that family members or friends, anywhere in the world, could tune in online or on cable to watch,” said David McKinley, station manager of The Education Network for the School District of Palm Beach County. “Space is limited at the ceremonies, and this creates a way for those who cannot attend in person to be part of the audience to celebrate this important occasion.”
From a grandmother in Tel Aviv, Israel, who was able to watch her grandson receive his diploma, to an aunt and uncle in Australia who could not afford to travel but wanted to see their niece graduate, The Education Network’s live coverage of graduations provides an important link to family members who aren’t able to see the ceremony in person.
The online audience is steadily growing. In 2013, the first year the District offered the special streaming, there were 5,000 online views. In 2015, that number increased to 20,000.
One of the network’s biggest graduation stories came last year, when their cameras captured the story of Keith Grieser, a Seminole Ridge Community High School graduate who had not walked for 14 years. The Education Network was there as Grieser worked in secret with a specialist to prepare to walk across the graduation stage in 2015.
“His younger brother graduated last May, so his parents were told he was on stage to present his younger brother with his diploma,” McKinley said. “But, to the surprise of his brother and family, a special announcement was made that, since he was unable to walk across the stage last year, he was being given special permission to walk across the stage.
“His parents were in tears, as was most everyone in attendance to see him walk for the first time in over 13 years.”
The Education Network's story, “Graduation Triumph,” had more than 20,000 hits online in just over a week this story earned the station a Suncoast Regional Emmy. The station was recognized for this at a school board meeting, at the close of the recognition, the reporting anchor, Claudia Shea handed her Emmy trophy to Griesser, telling him “You earned this!”
The Education Network airs programming for the School District of Palm Beach County online as well as on Comcast channels 234 and 235, and AT&T U-Verse channel 99.
Find your class of 2016 graduate’s school in the list below or at wcms.palmbeachschools.org/ten, and then watch the live graduation ceremony on Comcast channel 235, on AT&T channel 99 or online. Those watching online will have the option to use closed captioning, which allows viewers to turn text on and off, or open captioning, which constantly shows text on screen.
TV viewers in Palm Beach County can use closed captioning on Comcast channel 235. Captioning will be available for the first hour of graduation ceremonies, to cover the speeches.
8 a.m. Santaluces
Noon, William T. Dwyer
7:30 p.m. Royal Palm Beach
8 a.m. Olympic Heights
Noon, Palm Beach Gardens
4 p.m. Riviera Beach Preparatory and Achievement Academy
7:30 p.m. Pahokee High
8 a.m. Park Vista
Noon, West Boca
4 p.m. Wellington
7:30 p.m. SouthTech Academy
8 a.m. Palm Beach Central
Noon, Forest Hill
4 p.m. Suncoast
7:30 p.m. Inlet Grove