Class of 2020's socially-distanced graduation ceremony By: lily Stickley

The year of 2020 has not been what was expected, with schools closing in March due to the COVID-lockdown. The class of 2020 did not know if they were going to get a graduation ceremony. On August 5th in the Loy Norrix soccer field, they hosted a social distanced graduation ceremony for the class of 2020. It was originally going to be in the auditorium; however, with governor Whitmer’s move to have only 10 people inside at a time. that was no longer possible. So the ceremony was moved to be held on the soccer field.

A video was played prior to the ceremony which featured a speech from new KPS Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri. Student speakers were Michaela Martin, Maya Goggins, Brandon Schnurr and Ella Ledbetter-Newton.

Pictured here are KPS school board members Patti Sholler-Barber, who serves as board president, and Jennie Hill.
Senior Ebony Battle celebrates her academic success with support from her family.
Audreanna Dunton with her father posing before she walks on stage to graduate.

Riley Dominianni, graduated senior, pictured holding her cap. Riley is attending Kalamazoo College in the fall.

Everyone who was in attendance was required to wear a face mask if they wanted to walk across the stage. Senior Quincy Ellis watches as his friend fills out a health form in front of the soccer field by the painted rock.

The families of the graduates then went towards the soccer field where they were directed to the stands by administrative assistant and Loy Norrix alumni Zach Rickli. Graduates received a name card from LN athletic director Andrew Laboe.
The graduates then went on the soccer field to a table where drama teacher Paige Carrow and economics teacher Ryan Allen were seated. The graduates handed off their card with their names on them to one of the teachers, and the teachers read off their names while the students walked across the stage.

Once the students were on stage, they were handed their diplomas by Loy Norrix Principal Christopher Aguinaga. However, their actual diplomas were in the ticket booth in an envelope that had a $50 Visa gift card which the grads received from the Grad Bash committee

Graduate Emma Hilgart-Griff pictured walking off the stage with her diploma.

Graduated seniors Carlos Santos and Michaela Martin pictured hugging after the ceremony.
Students were encouraged to leave after they got their diploma; however, that was not the case. Most of the students stayed to watch their friends graduate as well. For a lot of students this was the first time seeing their friends since the Stay-at-Home order was first issued on March 12th.

Graduated senior Izayah Balden will be attending Michigan State University.

Pictured left to right: Loy Norrix English teacher Brianna English, French teacher Madam Learner and English teacher Kelly Stetten.

Far fewer teachers attended graduation than in years prior. About 14 Loy Norrix teachers attended in their gowns, just like they would in a normal graduation. Even Leonard Duke who has been a guest teacher and parapro at LN for many years was there to support the seniors. It was really nice to see the staff members as I would see them in the hallway even if I didn’t have classes with them. It was just nice to see the people who you used to see 5 days a week, the supportive staff members who we did not get to say goodbye to. Have a nice summer class of 2020.

From left to right: Library assistant and technology expert Pam Landis, security officer Mrs. Hampton and Assistant Principal Kimberly Kirshman. This was the team who the graduating seniors checked in with upon arrival.

Whether it was a substitute teacher, security officer, or library assistant, we as students saw these people regularly and then didn’t. The atmosphere at graduation was so happy, so many people whether students, teachers, or friends, got to connect again after months of being locked down and isolated due to COVID-19. Parapros Gloria Cottrell and Leonard Duke, who have been a steady support system for Loy Norrix students, made sure to continue in their support at the outdoor socially-distanced graduation.

Pictured graduated Loy Norrix senior Emma Stickley, mom Lori Stickley, Loy Norrix senior (currently) Lily Stickley, and Dad Rob Stickley. Emma is attending Kalamazoo College in the fall, and Lily wrote this article.

Families got to see their children graduate which was not something in the beginning of the pandemic anyone was expecting to happen, but it did.

I am proud of all our graduates congratulations! You’re to do great things.

Photo Credit: Tisha Pankop