LAKE TWP. The weather was near perfect on May 30 as Lake High School’s Class of 2020 made its way to a stage area set up in the parking lot of Lake Middle High School where Superintendent Kevin Tobin, school board members and others from the administration were waiting to hand the 263 graduates a diploma.
Each graduate could have two carloads of family members drive through the procession to see them in their caps and gowns and receive what they have worked 12 years to achieve. While it wasn’t the traditional graduation, it was celebratory, exciting and the grads and their families made it all seem normal.
“Graduates and their families entered our parking lot off of Lake Center Street and followed a path around the school to a staged area in front of the main doors facing Market Street,” said Lake Middle High School Principal Daniel Harold in an email. “Graduates could choose to remain in their cars and have their diploma handed to them, or they could exit their vehicle to have their names announced as they walk across a stage to receive their diplomas. We asked that there be no more than two vehicles per family, and all were encouraged to make it as much of a celebration as possible – signs, air horns, etc.”
Teachers and staff were encouraged to appropriately space themselves along the “route” to offer their congratulations to students. And, there were a large group of teachers cheering, holding signs and wishing the grads good luck.
Later in the evening, a graduation video was released for viewing and available for download. The video is composed of an abbreviated ceremony that also includes speeches from the class valedictorian, salutatorian and student council president. Parents and students were provided with a link to the graduation ceremony.
“Over the past four years, this graduating class has demonstrated remarkable patience, persistence, flexibility and resiliency as our school building went through a complete renovation and rebuilding,” Harold said. “This is also a class that helped to provide great leadership as we transitioned from more traditional grades 9-12 building and welcomed 7th and 8th graders as members of our student body. After finally being done with our construction project and really enjoying our new facilities and a more “normal” school year, our seniors were asked again to adjust, sacrifice and provide leadership over the last grading period of their high school careers. They did not disappoint.“
He added that adapting to the pandemic guidelines wasn’t something that any of us could do alone. It quickly became clear that the partnership between the school and the home would prove to be even more vital to help our young people navigate this entire situation.
“Lake is a special place, and through the quarantine, social distancing, stay at home orders and remote learning, we continued to be Lake,” Harold said. “While I have always been extremely proud of our teachers, staff, students and their families, I have been overwhelmed with the amazing effort, dedication, and collaborative spirit that I witnessed since March 13. None of us have been through something like this before and, yet, we were still able to provide our students with a quality education while trying to be aware of and address their physical, social and emotional needs. I am really proud of that.”