Grads receive diplomas in outside ceremony

Erin Whitehouse adjusts the cap for her brother Nick before Colman-Egan’s historic outdoor graduation ceremony last Friday. Photo compliments of Julie Preheim

The Colman-Egan Class of 2020 gathered on the school’s football field for graduation because it was big enough for social distancing in a coronavirus pandemic.
Student processed from the school to the center of the field, in front of the crow’s nest, where they sat on folding chairs at least six feet apart from classmates and their parents sat behind them.
When it came time for the 19 members of the class to receive their diplomas, parents escorted them up on stage, handed them their diploma and paused for a photo together.
Seniors Jordan Wittrock and Madelyn Loehr welcomed their classmates, family and friends to the ceremony and thanked them for what they have done to help the students.
“We also know this graduation will be one for the books and will probably be remembered forever,” Wittrock said.
Science teacher Troy McKenney said that life is unpredictable as they start a new chapter. Life can be difficult and include suffering, but students should continue to look for hope, he said.
“In the tough times, it’s important to find something to look forward to,” McKenney said.
He also reminded them that as they leave high school and the community, they should strive for quality, hard work and a job well done.
District students, including the seniors, finished classes through remote learning after schools across the state closed March 13, first for a week and then for the remainder of the school year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
During that time, several classmates said they missed seeing each other and doing senior activities like they would have in a normal year.
At graduation, relatives and friends parked around the football field, some holding signs and balloons for the graduates, who walked the perimeter of the field after graduating to the applause of those in attendance.
Loehr’s sister, aunt, relatives who traveled from several states away and friends gathered in one area with a large poster of the graduate.
“We’ve been trying to make this special for her,” said Cindy Menning, an aunt.

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