• 2021 graduations

Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2021

  • Saturday, May 29, 2021 at The Now Arena (Formerly the Sears Centre)

    We are thrilled to be able to host a limited in-person graduation inside the NOW Arena. Of course, all participants and guests are still required to follow all COVID-19 mitigation strategies and safety protocols, including masks and social distancing.

    Graduating seniors should have received their “grad packs” at their schools on Friday, May 21. Each pack included various materials needed for graduation. Each graduate will receive four guest tickets and one parking tag. 

    We know that graduation is an important milestone and want to encourage all seniors to participate; however if a senior is required to quarantine on May 29 as a result of having COVID symptoms, receiving a positive COVID test result, or being identified as a close contact of a confirmed or suspected positive case, they will not be permitted to participate in the graduation ceremony.

    Some Additional Details: 

    Car Limits and Parking

    • The NOW Arena must limit each graduate to one vehicle.  A graduate (wearing their gown) and his/her guests will need to arrive and depart in the same vehicle. The parking tag must be displayed in order for the group to get access to the NOW parking lot. 

    Graduate Entrance

    • Graduates should make their way to Door 11 upon arrival.
    • Graduates must wear their gowns into the NOW Arena, but are asked to have their gowns unzipped to expedite the screening process. 
    • NOW Arena security staff will be requiring all graduates to walk through metal detectors while entering the student entrance location. 

    Guest Entrance, Tickets and Seating 

    • All guests will enter at the arena’s main entrance. They should have their ticket ready and their mask on. Guests without masks or without a ticket will be refused entry. 
    • Anyone with mobility issues must bring their own wheelchair and any related support for entering and exiting the facility which is wheelchair accessible. 
    • The arena will be enforcing a Clear Bag Policy which means bags being brought into the arena must be see-through to streamline the security screening process. Exceptions will be made for medical, family, or child care bags or small clutches no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches.
    • Once inside the arena, there is no re-entry.
    • Each ticket will have a seating section assigned, and guests must sit in the section designated on the ticket. 
    • Arena seating sections will be set up in seating “pods.” Guests must sit together in one “pod.” For example, if a graduate has four guests, all four must sit in the same four-seat pod. The surrounding seats will be covered to ensure the next group of guests will be socially distanced. 


    There will be no outside food and beverages allowed into the arena, and no food and beverage sales in the arena. The only exceptions are snacks for young children or babies. Each guest can bring one bottle of water. 

    Masks Required 

    Masks are required to be worn the entire time a guest or graduate is inside the NOW Arena. If the guest is drinking bottled water, they must only remove the mask when drinking, and then place the mask back over the noise and mouth immediately.

    Outdoor Viewing Area

    • There will be an outdoor viewing area broadcasting a live feed of the ceremony in the closed portion of Hoffman Boulevard directly in front of the NOW Arena. 
    • Guests without tickets to attend the ceremony in-person will be welcome to view the ceremony from this area, which includes multiple video screens and live audio. 
    • Guests can bring folding chairs, but pop-up tents and tailgating are not permitted. Folding chairs must be removed from the street at the conclusion of the ceremony. 


    • Each ceremony will be one hour. Everything must occur in a timely manner in order to allow proper cleaning and preparation before the next ceremony.
    • After the ceremony, graduates will exit the arena through Door 4 and can meet with guests in the closed section of Hoffman Boulevard.
      All guests will exit through the main entrance they entered.


    Our principals will continue to offer regular updates between now and graduation day on May 29th, including rehearsal information. If you have any questions, we invite you to reach out to us via our “Class of 2021” Tab on Let’s Talk. We’re excited to see our students walk the stage at the NOW Arena once again this year! 


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     Starting this school year, in order to receive a diploma from an Illinois public high school, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or if applicable, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial

    Aid. This is a result of the enactment of a new law, Public Act 101-0180. The purpose of the new law is to increase awareness about the resources available to help students with post-secondary education or training. If a parent or guardian prefers not to complete the application there is an opt-out waiver available.  Click here for the opt out waiver.