COVID-19 brings uncertainty for Class of 2020 Graduation


Not only did COVID-19 cut the senior class’s year short, but it also leaves a lot of unknowns with graduation quickly approaching. CSHS graduation was originally scheduled for May 17, but the school board is having trouble making plans because of the social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders being lifted. 

On April 30, governor Laura Kelly announced her plans for slowly opening the state back up, and the school board hoped to get some answers on what they can and cannot do for the seniors’ graduation. Before this speech was given, many students were concerned about the plans for graduation. 

“I hope [graduation] happens on May 17,” senior Mallory Gillespie said. “It doesn’t matter to me if it happens as a class or individually; I just want to get my diploma and move on.”

With lots of mixed emotions on what should happen and the realistic side of what will happen, seniors are split between if they want a full-scale graduation or not. 

“I hope that at Laura Kelly’s speech she opens things back up so that maybe we can have a graduation,” senior Neal Zoglmann said. “I hope that we can have some sort of graduation even if it’s not the full scale. I hope that we can still have something.” 

However, Kelly announced that graduations were not going to be the traditional graduation. Later, Superintendent Clay Murphy sent an email to both parents and seniors with graduation plans, stating two graduation options for this year’s seniors, one of which was individual ceremonies on the original date of May 17, but only a few days later on May 7, he emailed again following a virtual meeting with Gov. Kelly, canceling the May 17 option altogether.

The current plan is June 21. Leading up to this date, the board will see if the restrictions on gathering have been lifted and if a normal ceremony can take place. Whatever it will look like, hard work and planning is taking place to recognize students’ success.

“What I was hoping to see–the Class of 2020 together–may not happen,” principal Brent Harrell said. “As disappointed as I am for that, I am still hopeful that individual students can be honored in some way to show them our appreciation for accomplishing such an amazing milestone in their lives.”  

This year’s competitors for valedictorian are Collin Koester, Joshua Koester and Amy Zoglmann. These will be decided once final grades are entered for the Class of 2020, and whether these students are able to give any speeches will depend upon what the ceremony entails in June.