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Webcasts to Allow Deployed Parents to Watch Graduations

American Forces Press Service

WIESBADEN, Germany, May 20, 2008 – Hundreds of troops deployed from Europe will be able to see their children’s high school graduation ceremonies via live webcasts, Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe officials announced.

DoDDS Europe, U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army 5th Signal Command have combined assets, talents and technologies to enable the live webcasts. The effort will allow at least 18 graduation ceremonies to be viewed by an estimated 211 deployed parents in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world.

The first graduation ceremony will be webcast June 5; 10 graduation ceremonies will take place simultaneously on June 6; and the last ceremony will be webcast June 13. Schools identified as having students with deployed parents are:

-- June 5: Hanau and Bamberg, Germany;

-- June 6: Naples, Italy; Heidelberg, Hohenfels, Kaiserslautern, Ansbach, Baumholder, Ramstein and Vilsek, Germany; Lakenheath, England; and Aviano, Italy;

-- June 7: Mannheim, Germany; and Rota, Spain;

-- June 8: Patch High School, in Stuttgart, Germany; H.H. Arnold High School, in Wiesbaden, Germany; and Vicenza, Italy; and

-- June 13: AFNORTH International High School, in Brunssum, Belgium.

Deployed parents will be able to see their graduating seniors cross the stage and view student messages recorded for the occasion.

This is the fifth year the effort has been undertaken. Diana Ohman, director of DoDDS Europe, who has been involved with each of the yearly webcasts, said that although it is a monumental technical challenge, these webcasts are emotionally significant to the students and the deployed parents.

“There is no room for error; it is too important,” she said. “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.”

Planning for this year’s webcast began in January. Seniors who had or anticipated having parents deployed at graduation were identified through the high schools.

(From a Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe news release.)

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