When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed schools due to COVID-19, seniors wondered how they would finish high school.
In the current stay-at-home order, large social gatherings are not permitted which makes planning graduation difficult.
On Tuesday, May 12, Kearsley staff members held a ‘Senior Salute’ in the front loop of KHS as a goodbye from the district.
For senior Sydney Walker, saying goodbye to her favorite staff members was hard.
“I felt a little sad,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten close with some of the staff over the years and I’ve learned so much from them that it’s tough to say goodbye.”
Walker wants a graduation ceremony more than anything.
“I think it would be cool to have it on the football field like ‘High School Musical,'” Walker said. “As far as prom goes, if we are able to have something then I’ll be excited but if they had to give us one, I’ll take graduation.”
In a letter sent out May 19, Principal Brian Wiskur informed KHS seniors and their families that the original commencement ceremony scheduled for June 6 was moved to July 15 at the Whiting.
Only parents will be able to attend in order to follow social-distancing guidelines.
In the event that the commencement ceremony cannot be held indoors, Superintendent Kevin Walworth said that alternate measures have been put in place.
“We are also planning an outdoor commencement on our football field as another alternate plan for the same date if we cannot hold an indoor event,” Walworth said. “It is our sincere hope to hold a face to face graduation to honor our seniors.”
Also standing as a backup if large groups aren’t permitted, the commencement ceremony will be held virtually with prerecorded speeches from staff and senior Ava Kelsey.
Kelsey appreciates all that Kearsley staff members have done for the seniors.
“While I’m really sad about the possibility of missing out on traditional graduation and honors ceremonies, I really appreciate everything the school is doing to keep us safe and I understand how hard of a decision it is to make,” Kelsey said. “I’ll obviously be sad if we don’t get our graduation, but I’m looking on the bright side and I think we’re lucky to have the option of virtual or alternate graduation in case things don’t work out.”
Seniors will be able to pick up their caps, gowns, and cords, as well as empty out their lockers Tuesday, June 2 in designated time slots based on last names.
Honors convocation will be a virtual presentation honoring seniors with a final GPA of 3.0 and higher. Qualifying seniors will receive a Google form in an email which they will provide the needed information to include them in the presentation.
Concluding the letter, Wiskur officially canceled prom. Class of 2020 President Stacia Tipton is upset about the decision.
“I am beyond sad and definitely feel like I’m missing out on one of the most important parts of high school,” Tipton said. “We’ve been planning for prom since last May and I feel like we wasted so much time and energy on something we aren’t even going to get to experience.”
Despite being upset, Tipton understands the risk of hosting a prom during the pandemic.
“I know it’s for the best though,” Tipton said. “I would rather everyone be safe and healthy than risking it all just to have a dance.”