By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg High School’s class of 2020 is now officially part of the district’s history. Finally.
The district-organized graduation ceremony July 23 was anything but traditional. Still, all that really mattered in the end was that a graduation ceremony for the school’s 170 seniors happened.
“I’m very happy for these kids today, but, gosh, I hope it’s the last time we have to hold a graduation this way,” school board President Skip Knowles said. “I do need to say, though, everybody worked hard and we were firmly committed to being able to pull a graduation off. And we did.”
Knowles said it took an extensive amount of coordination and planning in order to stay in compliance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders regarding crowd sizes.
He noted the ceremony – staggered in small groups over the course of more than three hours – actually over-complied, as graduates and their family members gathered 10 yards apart then proceeded forward to the southwest end of the football field for a photo and for the graduate to receive a diploma.
Knowles conceded the 30-foot distance was easy to measure because graduates and their family members stood at every 10-yard interval, clearly marked on the turf.
He said one upside to the unprecedented ceremony was graduates being able to be pictured with family members prior to receiving their diploma. Knowles said family typically is in the stands while the procession takes place on the field.
“We did a virtual graduation too, so they actually have something they can look at for the rest of their life, as long as there’s the internet,” he said. “They can look at all the speeches and all the graduates and everything else. So, if you want to look at that as a positive. Classes before them didn’t have that.”
He said the class of 2020 will go down in history as a unique group that experienced unprecedented circumstances. He is optimistic the obstacles and setbacks will make the young women and men of 2020 stronger and show greater perseverance as they blossom into adults.
Knowles said he is proud how district administrators and staff worked together to make the event special for the graduates. He thanked all the volunteers and said he looks forward to a more traditional ceremony next year.
“Hopefully,” he said. “I’m crossing my fingers.”
By Jef Rietsma