Wright City High School graduation set for Friday

By: 
Derrick Forsythe
Staff Writer

This Friday an interrupted chapter in the lives of 112 Wright City seniors will come to a close.

Nearly two months after they were originally scheduled to graduate, members of the Class of 2020 will finally get to parade across the stage and receive their diplomas.

The R-II commencement ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. at the high school football field.

“We had pushed back this far in the hopes we would be at a point where we could have the most open ceremony possible,” said Principal Matt Brooks. “Our ceremony will look similar to some other schools that had their graduations in late May or June.”

This ceremony will look different, practically in reverse of previous years.

Students will be seated 6 feet apart around the track, with supporters seated in blocks of six chairs on the football field. The podium, along with administrators, teachers and board members, will be staged in the grandstands.

“We’re asking folks to maintain social distancing as much as possible to make allowances for this different type of graduation,” said Brooks.

Seating for spectators on Friday will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. The school will have bottled water, emergency personnel and a support tent to help address any concerns related to excessive heat.

In the event of inclement weather, graduation will be moved to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. Brooks said the announcement of any postponements will be made by Friday at noon.

“I’m happy to be able to recognize this class,” said Brooks. “We were lucky to have them here a little bit longer, because we’re going to be sad to see them go. They’ve been such a tremendous group.”

Among the speakers representing the class will be seniors Autumn Nixon, Katherine Mazella, Brennan Logan, Sara Deane, Erik Pritchard, Kaitlyn Johnson and Class President Summer Boswell. The keynote speaker will be teacher Dan Friedel.

Brooks says the Class of 2020 was decorated with accomplishments, winning conference titles in sports and bringing home achievements in band, FFA, FBLA and other extracurriculars. For many, the largest setback of their four years — a disruptive pandemic — was beyond control.

“What a shame for this class, but I also thought I don’t know of a class that is better prepared to handle this circumstance and still thrive. Their ability to go through this and persevere is second to none,” Brooks said.

As a group, the Class of 2020 earned around $400,000 in combined scholarships. Sgt. Jeremy Burd from the United States Marine Corps will be on hand Friday night to present some of those awards that would have originally been announced in May.

“Even with what they lost in the spring of their senior year, they’re going to do just fine,” said Brooks. “I’m happy and excited for them.”

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