High schools across the country are trying to find a way to celebrate and honor the newest crop of graduates --- this the graduating class of 2020---and still maintain the guidelines and confusion of protecting its students, staff, and community from the COVID-19 virus. It’s been a tricky collection of avoiding landmines, but for Plainview High School, the fact they had a relatively large class graduating helped them create a memorable ceremony.
On Sunday, the six graduates and their immediate families gathered in front of the Plainview School building where a stage was set up and decorated in the class colors of Navy Blue, Neon Green and Silver. The podium displayed the class motto, “We Must All FACE the Choice between what is RIGHT and WHAT is Easy,” by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books.
While the school administration and board president took the stage, seated in acceptable distance from each other and wearing masks, in order to present the graduates and certify their achievement, the parents and family stayed in cars parked directly in front of the school. The six graduates sat socially distanced and with masks adorned to the side of the stage ready to receive their scholarships and diplomas.
Senior class member Olivia Specht opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance. Superintendent Dana Unruh then welcomed the graduates, staff and guests to the ceremony. She also announced the scholarships and presented the seniors with their achievement awards. Unruh then introduced the class Salutatorian, Olivia Specht, and class Valedictorian, Kyle Scott. Both Specht and Scott gave impressive speeches directed at their classmates, school staff, family and friends.
The class had invited Plainview elementary teacher Susan Greenfield to give the graduation address. Greenfield gave a heartfelt presentation about the class and the obstacles they so aptly have overcome.
Class sponsor Jennifer Wilson, along with school board President Amy Schmidt, then presented the Class of 2020 to the stage, one at a time, to receive their diplomas. Those receiving their diploma was Kayden Abrey Moser, Olivia Specht, Savannah Lynn Stum, Alexander Keith Schmidt, Kyle Richard Patrick Scott, and Benjamin Eugene Splitter.
One last announcement was made to the students and crowd. Since the school was not able to hold their annual prom in April, they went ahead and voted for the Prom King and Prom Queen anyway. The results of this vote was kept under wraps until graduation day. The 2020 Plainview Prom King is Alex Schmidt and Prom Queen is Kayden Moser.
After the ceremony, the graduates loaded into their cars and everyone drove to Sheridan Lake where the community had planned a parade in honor of the Class of 2020.
Although COVID-19 has changed the way we do a lot of things in our life right now, the people of southeastern Colorado are using their ingenuity to maintain the tradition and pomp and circumstances of a good ‘ole small town graduation.