Graduates walk the stage at socially distanced graduation nearly three months later than planned

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Amanda Bauman, Adviser

Little was known about the coronavirus circulating in China when the news of the potentially dangerous virus reached the United States in December. Schools continued for an additional two months as the virus raged overseas. Then came the inevitable. Cases started appearing closer and closer to home. Schools then closed their doors on March 13 – hopes to stop the virus within a few weeks subsided as Governor Laura Kelly made the executive decision to close school buildings on March 17.

Because the buildings closed and learning turned virtual, the hopes for a graduation were paused. Graduation turned into a documentary made by Heather Nguyen, a 2018 graduate, and a parade on the original graduation date; however, the administration found a solution.

The three month delayed graduation sported several small and large changes to accommodate CDC and local health official’s recommendations in regards to minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Instead of being in the usually crowded gym, the ceremony took place at Children’s Mercy Park – the home of the Sporting Kansas City soccer team located about five minutes from the high school.

Graduates sat on the field spaced six feet from one another rather than shoulder to shoulder.

Some graduates were missing due to enlisting the military, choosing to continue quarantining or personal choice.

Masks were required upon entrance to the facility, but could be removed once seated.

Instead of the usual four speakers — senior class president, merit scholar, faculty and the principal, only two speakers — senior class president, Miles Lockridge, and principal, John Nguyen made remarks. Both speeches highlighted the importance of lasting influence and change that this class can bring to their future.

While getting their diploma, graduates picked them up off a table instead of the traditional hand shake with their principal and the school board.

One thing remained the same despite the changes and delay, the graduates smiled and celebrated. As confetti fell to the ground they tossed their caps at the end.