Schools to share graduations with deployed parents
May 17, 2006
For the third time, military schools in Europe will broadcast their graduation ceremonies live to parents via video links to locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and other remote places.
Using Internet and video technology, the link will allow for real-time viewing of the students receiving their diplomas, pre-recorded messages from students to their parents, and post-ceremony video teleconferences and Web chats between the two ends.
Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe officials say 18 schools in Europe are scheduled for the service, with some 200 parents downrange on the receiving end. Additional schools can be added if a student’s parent is unexpectedly deployed, DODDS officials said.
The ceremonies are scheduled to run from June 7 to 16.
“There is no room for error. It is too important. It is important to the graduating senior that he or she be able to share the event with their parents, as well as for the deployed parent to be able to view their son or daughter crossing the stage,” Diane Ohman, director of DODDS-Europe, said in a news release.
The process began in January, when seniors in Germany, England and Italy who had, or were anticipated to have, parents deployed were identified. The lists were compiled, and then a German broadcast engineering company was contracted to provide technical support.
Each high school also will be paired with a signal battalion in their area to provide more technical expertise, should glitches come up in the process.
The system works by setting up Web sites that will host the ceremony feeds. Parents of students will be contacted and given site addresses and passwords, along with instructions on how to participate in the video teleconferences.
Jeffery Temple, a U.S. Army Europe liaison officer, said that some 130 deployed parents have not been reached yet with the details. Those who still have not been contacted should contact the DODDS-Europe public affairs office, officials said.
Schedule of graduation ceremony broadcasts (exact times not yet available):
AFNorth: June 16
Bamberg: June 9
Baumholder: June 9
Bitburg: June 9
Geissen: June 9
Hanau: June 9
Heidelberg: June 9
Hohenfels: June 9
Kaiserslautern: June 9
Lakenheath: June 9
Mannheim: June 10
Naples: June 9
Ramstein: June 7
Sigonella: June 10
Vicenza: June 11
Vilseck: June 10
Wiesbaden: June 11
Würzburg: June 9