COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty in recent weeks, with business changes, event cancellations and the moving of education online. This year’s high school students were robbed of a prom and spring sports season, as well as the cancellation of band and choir concerts and the spring play, but this year’s seniors will be celebrated.
Le Sueur-Henderson High School announced last week that they will be moving forward with the regularly-scheduled graduation date this Sunday, May 24 at 2 p.m. However, as with all things, the format will look a little different.
The “traditional” ceremony inside of the gymnasium will not be happening. Instead, commencement will be held in the south and west parking lots of the high school. Diplomas will be awarded curbside to graduates as they check in, and the commencement ceremony will be immediately followed by a parade to celebrate the graduates in both Le Sueur and Henderson.
The ceremony will include student speakers, who will be required to wear face masks and who will each have their own separate microphone, and the podium area will be sanitized between speakers. The ceremony will be held rain or shine, and broadcast live on KCHK.
This ceremony is only open to graduates and immediate family members; the general public and extended family members will not be invited to attend as only one vehicle per graduate will be allowed. Students and parents will be required to remain in their vehicles during the ceremony and vehicles will be parked according to social distancing recommendations.
LS-H High School Principal Brian Thorstad said they have been in communication with both Le Sueur Police Chief Bruce Kelly and Henderson Police Chief Dmitri Ikonitski to coordinate the parades in both communities, and people will be encouraged to immediately disperse after the parades.
This year’s ceremony will also break with another tradition the school district and board have previously followed: allowing previous school board members who have a student graduating to present the diploma to their graduate.
Board member Erina Prom during Monday night’s LS-H School Board meeting questioned whether that practice would be allowed. Although no specific names were mentioned, among this year’s graduates is Seth Hardel, whose mother Amy Hardel served on the board through 2018.
“I appreciate the tradition, but I don’t see how we let one family member get out of a car and not set the expectation for other family members,” responded board chair Brigid Tuck.
Thorstad concurred, stating he did not think that would be possible for this year’s ceremony.
Minnesota New Country School in Henderson is also planning a ceremony to honor their 18 graduates this year. School staff is meeting Wednesday, May 20 to discuss what they will be doing. Look for more details for their graduation details on the Henderson Independent Facebook page, and in next week’s paper and the Class of 2020 Graduation Tab.