Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, high school seniors were already in countdown mode — counting down the numbers of days they had left in their respective schools before they walked across a stage at graduation.
Now the count down for the seniors continues at home, but there will be no stage to walk across in the coming days and weeks and the next time they are allowed to enter their respective high school building, they will officially be graduates.
Even though the normal graduation ceremonies won’t happen in the next few weeks, area high schools are doing all they can to properly send off the Class of 2020.
“First, I want to say that it saddens me that the senior class is ending their high school years in this fashion,” Lodi High School Principal Vince Breunig wrote in a letter to seniors and their parents or guardians. “All the different ends of the senior year activities are milestones and rites of passage that students have been looking forward to for a long time. Whether it’s being able to walk out of the high school for the last time, or spending a senior class trip with your closest friends, or listening to
‘Pomp and Circumstance’ being played as you walk across the stadium with your friends and family in attendance; these are the memories that many cherish for a lifetime.”
Lodi and Poynette high schools are both having a virtual graduation ceremony.
Poynette High School will make its virtual graduation ceremony available to family and friends of the seniors at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 24. A parade through the village is scheduled for Saturday, May 23 from noon-1 p.m. The school will also hold a virtual Class Night, where various scholarships are presented, which will be available May 20.
Lodi High School will have a similar setup with a virtual graduation ceremony at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 31.
Both schools know how important and special the in-person ceremony is, so both have tentatively scheduled one during summer. Hoernke said that Poynette has put out two tentative dates — one in late July and the other some time in August.
“The tentatives dates for an in-person graduation ceremony are in the process of being determined,” Poynette High School Principal Mark Hoernke said. “The in-person ceremony format, location, and date may depend greatly on guidance from national, state, county and village government agencies.”
Lodi’s last chance at a ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 7.
“If we’re allowed to have it in August, it will be for whomever can make it,” Lodi High School senior class officer Elizabeth TenBarge said. “It will be one last farewell.”
TenBarge added that she and other class officers are also arranging a class reunion-type gathering if the August ceremony has to be cancelled. A date has not been scheduled, but TenBarge said if it comes to that, she would like it sooner than later.
With events in July, and later, being canceled across the state, TenBarge said it’s been tough to try and plan things. The situation is constantly changing, but the state has slowly been trying to get to normal.
“Everything is kind of up in the air,” TenBarge said.
For LHS, its in-person senior awards night will not be rescheduled. Breunig said the school will mail out a program as a keepsake, as it contains a list of students who earned awards and scholarships. All certificates will be mailed to each individual student as well.
“I know that whatever plan we put together will not meet every need, work in everyone’s calendar, nor rise to everyone’s expectation,” Breunig said in conclusion of his letter. “Obviously, these decisions were very difficult to make, and the high school appreciates your patience and understanding. … We want to honor our graduates with our traditional graduation ceremony, but since that is not an option, we are going to do our best to honor them in our own unique way.”