High School Graduation Information - Class of 2021
To view a printable version of the graduation information below, please click here.
On Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22, District 300 will host five high school graduation ceremonies inside the NOW Arena (formerly Sears Centre) located at 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, 60192, as follows:
Date School Arrive at NOW Arena Ceremony Start Time Estimated End Time Friday, May 21 HHS (All) 6 p.m. 7 p.m. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 22
JHS (Last Names A-L)
JHS (Last Names M-Z)
DCHS (Last Names A-L)
DCHS (Last Names M-Z)
*Ceremonies will be live streamed, recorded, and viewable by the public.
To view the live stream, please visit the District 300 website or the respective school website to access a link to the live stream.
This video will also be posted on the District 300 website and Facebook page in the days following the ceremonies. Schools will email a video link to seniors and families as soon as it becomes available.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions;
Do I need a ticket to attend graduation?
Yes. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions related to mass gatherings, capacities are limited and guests from different households must maintain social distance in the seating bowl. To ensure the graduation ceremonies meet state guidelines, all guests will need to have a physical ticket to enter the arena. Once inside, there is no re entry.
Each graduate will receive 6 physical audience tickets (graduates do not need a ticket). Tickets will have a designated section number printed on them. Attendees must sit in their assigned ticket section, but seating within each section is based on a first come, first served basis. Each section will have pods of six seats together for a graduate’s guests. This will ensure guests spread themselves throughout the arena. The arena will cover/deactivate seats to ensure guests are forced to social distance between seating pods. Children aged two years and younger do not require a ticket to attend the ceremony and may sit on their parent/guardians’ lap during the ceremony.
School Ticket Pick-Up Date(s)/Times
Ticket Pick-Up Location
Dundee-Crown High School
May 14 & 17 with materials return and cap/gown pick up
(Noon-6:30 p.m. on May 14th and 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on May 17th)
DCHS Media Center Hampshire High School
May 13 & 14 - In person students during lunch periods.
Noon to 5 p.m. (remote students)
Door #2 (auditorium entrance)
Jacobs High School
May 18th during senior awards.
May 19th & May 20th 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (call to schedule a pickup after hours)
May 21st senior activity day (time TBD)
JHS Media Center
What is the parking process at the NOW Arena?
As attendees enter the NOW Arena parking area, uniformed police officers and attendants will direct traffic. Guests will be directed by parking staff to the designated east parking lots.
The lots are accessible off Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Boulevard, and Pratum Avenue.
Parking is limited to two cars per graduate. In addition, guests are welcome to Uber/Lyft to the arena.
What are arrival procedures for graduates?
Graduates should arrive one hour prior to their ceremony start time. Graduates should enter through Door 11 on the southeast end. At this entrance, graduates will first walk through metal detectors following normal NOW Arena security protocols. Please have gowns unzipped to expedite the screening process along. Upon entering the arena, all graduates must wear a mask (which must also be worn throughout the ceremony).
Graduates will check in with school staff to ensure they are at the correct ceremony and are cleared to participate in graduation.
Once checked in, graduates will have their picture taken with a diploma cover before receiving their pre-ceremony materials, and will then be ushered to the arena floor. Once on the floor, students will proceed directly to a seat as directed by staff. Seats will be filled from front row to back row. Seating first come, first served as opposed to alphabetical order.
Pre-ceremony materials include a “reader card” and pen. Graduates will be directed to fill out the reader card with first and last name (including phonetic spelling) at their seat, while waiting for the start of the ceremony.
What are the arrival procedures for guests?
All guests will enter at the Main Entrance (southwest end) of the arena during their designated entry time listed on the flyer given to them once they arrived in the parking lot. Once guests are at the Main Entrance, they must have their mask on and ticket ready. Any guest without a mask on and ticket will not be admitted. Once guests are inside, staff will help direct guests to their designated section.
Once guest are in their correct section, they will have the option of sitting in any of the open pods in their section. Each pod will contain six seats. To keep a social distance between pods, all chairs that are unavailable for seating will be blocked off. (If you or a member of your party require handicapped seating, please see the section below).
NOW Arena will implement a “Clear Bag Policy,” which is detailed at https://www.nowarena.com/. This limits the size of bags entering the arena and requires the majority of bags to be clear to streamline the security screening process and avoid unnecessary wait times to enter the venue. Exceptions will be made for medical, family, or child care bags or small clutches no larger than 4.5”x6.5”.
Is handicapped seating and parking available?
Yes, the NOW Arena is ADA compliant for accessibility including restrooms, parking, drop off lanes, and service counters. Accessible seating is located on the main concourse level.
NOW Arena will not have wheelchair escorts or wheelchairs available for guests. If a guest attending graduation needs a wheelchair or has mobility issues, they are advised to provide their own wheelchair.
The arena staff will handle ADA seating needs on a case-by-case base similar to previous years.
How are programs distributed at the NOW Arena?
Programs will be distributed to graduates and families upon arrival.
Can we bring food or drink?
No outside food and drink is permitted. This allows cleaning staff to focus on disinfecting, not cleaning up food debris.
There will be no food and drink sales in the arena. This avoid lines in the concourse and the need for people to remove masks to eat and drink.
Water Fountains will not be in use per guidelines.
Only exceptions will be the following:
- Snacks for young children or babies
- Each guest can bring one 12oz bottle of water, but must adhere to mask policy at all times when not drinking the water bottle.
What are dismissal procedures for graduates?
All graduates will exit through Door 4 and move outdoors. No congregating after the ceremony is permitted as we need to transition quickly for the next ceremony. Graduates and families should promptly transition from the concourses to their vehicles in the lot.
What are dismissal procedures for guests?
At completion of the event, we will verbally release guests by section to avoid mass exiting and crowding on the concourse.
All guests will exit through the Main Entrance where they entered.
Where will I meet my graduate after the ceremony?
Families must exit immediately after the ceremony concludes; there will not be an opportunity to stay around for socializing to avoid large groups congregating. No congregating after the ceremony is permitted as we need to transition quickly for the next ceremony. Graduates and families should promptly transition from the concourse to their vehicles in the lot.
Is there a graduation rehearsal?
There is not a graduation rehearsal, but rather a graduation rehearsal video will be shared to families by their school. Since we will not be having a processional and students are ushered to a seat upon entry into the Arena, we cannot replicate the ceremony at high schools. Each high school will send to their graduates and parents/guardians a rehearsal video in advance of the ceremony to provide visual and verbal direction. This will include visuals of entrances and exits as well as procedures while inside the Arena. We kindly ask that all participating families watch this video when made available.
When do graduates receive their caps and gowns?
Jacobs and Hampshire have already distributed caps and gowns. Dundee-Crown is distributing caps and gowns on May 14 and 17 with ticket distribution.
Students are required to wear a cap and gown. Please call Herff Jones as soon as possible at 815-756-4743 if you have not ordered or received your attire.
How do graduates receive their cords, medallions, etc. if applicable?
Additional attire beyond caps and gowns will be distributed at either final club meetings (i.e. National Honor Society, AVID, etc.), at Senior Awards, or at ticket distribution. More specific details will come from your high school closer to the dissemination, along with ticket distribution details.
May students decorate their caps?
Yes, students may decorate caps as long as they are appropriate.
What are the guidelines for student attire under the cap and gown?
Students must arrive properly dressed for the commencement ceremony. Appropriate attire under the cap and gown is required. Athletic wear, jeans, shorts, sneakers or “flip-flops” are not permitted.
What behavior policies are in place for graduation?
All District 300 and school policies adhere to the commencement ceremony and will be enforced. In order to ensure the safety of all attendees and participants, individuals demonstrating disruptive behavior, found in possession (or who are under the influence) of drugs or alcohol, or are using any object that disrupts the graduation ceremony will be subject to immediate ejection from the NOW Arena.
Can I get up and move closer to take pictures as my child walks across the stage?
While picture taking is encouraged, District 300 asks that all attendees remain in their seats during the graduation ceremony. Attendees will not be permitted on the floor at any time during the commencement ceremony.
Will professional pictures be taken of the graduates?
For your convenience, we have made arrangements for a professional photographer to photograph graduates with a diploma cover upon entry into the arena and before the ceremony. There will also be candid shots taken of students on stage during the Presentation of Graduates. Families will receive a proof in the mail after the ceremony. Families are not obligated to purchase photos and will have the option of ordering several photo packages.
When will students receive their diploma & diploma cover?
Students will receive their diploma cover during the ceremony. The actual diploma document distribution will be communicated by each high school.
What happens when it is time to come to the stage to be recognized and receive my diploma cover?
For the Presentation of the Graduates:
- The stage will have two podiums (one on each side) and three staircases (one on each side and a staircase in the middle)
- Students will be led by a staff member to the stage.
- When the graduate reaches the podium they will hand the reader the name card they filled out. Be prepared to give the reader the pronunciation of your name.
- Names will be read in an alternating fashion (one from stage left, then one from stage right).
- Once the name is read, the students will walk to the center of the stage and pick up their diploma cover
- Students will cross the stage alternating sides and will exit the stage via the middle stairwell
- Students will return to their seat by walking down the middle section of the rows
General Expectations & Additional Items
- Any individual that does not feel well should stay home for the benefit of all attending
- Mask wearing and social distancing is required at all times
- Students must attend their assigned ceremony only
- Students must arrive in and wear their cap and gown
- Students must follow direction from staff as they enter, stay seated throughout the ceremony except when they line up to go across the stage, and follow direction from staff as they are dismissed
- Families must remain in their seats at all times. Exceptions are if someone needs to use the restroom. Individuals must wear a mask and maintain social distance in this case.
- Families must exit immediately after the ceremony concludes, locate their graduate and head to their vehicle promptly.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions about graduation?
*We have taken enhanced health and safety measures to protect our venue guests. However, there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. By entering the NOW Arena, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and voluntarily waive all claims and potential claims related to exposure to COVID-19 against the Village of Hoffman Estates, Global Spectrum, and Community Unit School District 300.
Future Graduation Information
Graduation Class of 2022
Hampshire High School: May 21, 2022
Jacobs High School: May 21, 2022
Dundee-Crown High School: May 21, 2022
Cum Laude System Information
District 300 uses the Cum Laude system to honor graduates. The Cum Laude system establishes three distinct “honors” levels where students are recognized for their academic performance at the graduation ceremony in May. These classifications will account for both the unweighted and weighted GPA. The honors distinctions include:
3.5 - 3.69
4.5 – 4.99
Magna Cum Laude
With Great Honors
3.7 - 3.84
5.0 – 5.49
Summa Cum Laude
With Highest Honors
3.85 - 4.0
It is important to note that a student’s unweighted GPA may place them in a different Cum Laude level than their weighted GPA (and vice versa). If this is the case, the higher of the two levels will be applied for the student.
The cum laude distinctions are reserved for only those students who have earned a minimum GPA of 3.5+ (unweighted) and 4.5+ (weighted) with no failing semester grades (F) or incompletes (I). The inclusion of the “and” option using a weighted and unweighted calculation ensures that students who take challenging coursework are recognized for their overall attainment.
The cum laude system does not eliminate the Valedictorian or Salutatorian designations. Instead, both the Valedictorian and Salutatorian will continue to be selected based upon overall weighted GPA. In the instance where multiple students have the same weighted GPA, the school will allow for co-valedictorians as has been past practice.
Is the Cum Laude System Based on Seventh Semester or Eighth Cumulative GPA?
Seventh semester. However, in fairness to students that do not earn any cum laude designation after seven semesters but do meet the threshold after eight semesters, schools will mail home a cum laude sticker for the diploma and post the distinction to transcripts in June. This only applies for students that did not earn any cum laude designation but end up meeting the “cum laude” threshold after eight semesters. Students that earned one of the three distinctions after seven semesters will maintain their cum laude distinction earned despite possible changes in GPA after an additional semester.