The next few weeks would traditionally be filled with graduation celebrations; however, due to our statewide response to controlling the spread of COVID-19, schools were closed early and we are all staying home or when we are out, maintaining social distancing in groups of less than 10. As the Safer-at-Home order continues to require that we not gather in large groups, many communities are finding new, creative ways to celebrate important milestones like graduation. Here at the City of Wheat Ridge, we are doing what we can to recognize the hard work of graduates in our community. At the May 11, City Council Meeting we read a proclamation honoring 2020 graduates. A banner was hung this week over W. 38th Ave. celebrating the accomplishments of our Wheat Ridge High School (WRHS) seniors. Wheat Ridge Neighbors Facebook has been posting individual recognition for each WRHS senior, and on Friday, the City Facebook platform will include video congratulations from Wheat Ridge staff, police officers, and City leadership to all Wheat Ridge graduates. Wheat Ridge has also launched a new section of What’s Up Wheat Ridge (whatsupwheatridge.com) where friends, family and graduates can add their photos, videos, and best wishes for a bright, successful future in a kind of digital yearbook. There is also a poll question to answer, a place to share an act of kindness you’ve observed in the community, and you can ask questions of staff.What’s Up will also be used to get the community engaged and updated on a number of projects including COVID-19, the Wadsworth Improvement project funded by the 2E Ballot Initiative, Sustainable Wheat Ridge, and Census 2020. This new platform was designed to offer community members new ways to stay in touch and provide input on City projects that are in the planning stages, and updates on those projects that are nearing completion. Soon new additions will appear on the site such as neighborhood specific questions so that staff can gather ideas as the City furthers the community engagement plans outlined in the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy from the 2019 final report.In addition to closure of local schools by the Governor to help control the spread of the virus, the City closed its facilities until June 1, 2020, and has been providing services online and by phone. This change in how services are provided to the community has also expanded opportunities for viewing and interacting during City Council Meetings, Study Sessions, and Planning Meetings using WheatRidgeSpeaks.org and video conferencing. As we move through Safer at Home orders and return to in-person activities in the coming months, City Council recognizes the value of continuing to provide these options which encourage residents to participate in the decision making process of City Council and other public meetings if unable to attend in person. Whether interacting during Citizen’s Right to Speak, or public comment on WheatRidgeSpeaks.org or engaging on WhatsUpWheatRidge.com, our community has great new ways to provide input and get involved. Please take a few minutes and join the conversation.While we must remain vigilant to stay on track with controlling the spread of the virus, there are glimmers of hope as businesses begin to reopen, and many of us return to work in the days and weeks to come. Please remember to stay strong, stay at home when you can, and share your congratulations with all of our Wheat Ridge graduates.