About four months into the pandemic last year, Mercer Island High School (MIHS) graduating seniors participated in a “diploma drive-thru.”
The graduation scenario for the Class of 2021 will take on a different form this year. On June 10, all graduating members of the senior class will be present together to mark their momentous day with a 5:30 p.m. ceremony at Islander Stadium. Each graduate has a two-guest limit and the event will be livestreamed like last year.
Principal Walter Kelly announced the news on May 3 in a message to students.
“While the event is limited in capacity, we will stream the ceremony for friends and loved ones unable to attend,” said Kelly, adding that reserved seats will be assigned for each attendee.
Kelly also noted in the message that the school will be hosting senior prom from 4-9 p.m. on May 22 at the Golf Club at Newcastle. According to the school website, the event will take place in small groups.
* In other news, Fred Rundle, acting school district superintendent, announced in a May 4 update to the school community that they are planning a full return for the 2021-22 school year on Sept. 1. The plan is to return to the daily schedule prior to the pandemic, with all students attending classes in-person five days per week for the full school day.
The school district and its Mercer Island Education Association partners have a shared commitment to a full return, said Rundle, adding that they’ll work together on a plan that creates safe and supportive schools for staff and students; supports equitable and inclusive learning settings; and addresses the academic, social, and emotional well-being of all students.
“Achieving a full return will not be easy. But, given the creativity and commitment of our staff and administrators, we are confident we will be able to overcome the hurdles such as: lunches, transportation, and classroom capacity at three-feet distance,” Rundle said.
* MIHS garnered a ranking among the top 2 percent of high schools in the country in the 2021 Best High Schools rankings recently released by U.S. News & World Report.
Mercer Island is ranked sixth among Seattle metro area high schools, seventh among Washington state high schools, and 392nd nationally out of nearly 18,000 high schools in the United States. MIHS rose 135 spots in this year’s rankings.
U.S. News paired with RTI International, a North Carolina-based research firm, to create the rankings and MIHS received a score of 97.8 out of 100. Rankings are based on schools’ performance on state-required tests, graduation and how well they prepare students for college. At MIHS, 65% of students took at least one AP exam, 60% passed at least one AP exam, and the school has a 90% mathematics proficiency, 99% reading proficiency and a 93% graduation rate.
Statewide, MIHS was ranked fourth in math and reading proficiency, seventh in curriculum breadth index, 11th in college readiness index, 26th in math and reading performance and 84th in graduation rate.