Republic Tiger seniors get rolling with geared graduation

Republic High School held their first ever drive-through graduation ceremony at the high school campus for the class of 2020 Saturday, May 9. Approximately 288 of Republic High School’s 324 graduating seniors received their diplomas during the event.
During the ceremony, each graduate, accompanied by friends and family members, was driven to a designated spot, where they would exit their vehicles and pick up their diploma covers as their name was announced over a loudspeaker. They then walked across the commons area, where they were congratulated by administration and the members of the Republic Board of Education.
From there, they posed for a professional picture and then picked up their senior packet before getting back into their vehicle. Afterwards, they had the option of going to another photo area to have pictures taken with family.
The district held the drive-through ceremony so the graduating seniors would have a chance to be recognized while observing social-distancing requirements designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. While it is the first time the district has ever held such an event, Josey McPhail, director of communications for Republic Schools, said the entire ceremony went according to plan.
“Thanks to the planning efforts of our team at Republic High School, the drive-through graduation event was a great success,” she said. “Everything ran as planned.”
McPhail also thanked the students and families who have worked with the district during the COVID-19 situation.
“Our graduates and families have been extremely gracious during this time,” she said. “We are appreciative of their understanding and support of our efforts to celebrate the class of 2020.”
Jack Cook, one of the graduating seniors, said he greatly enjoyed the graduation ceremony.
“I’ve never been to an actual graduation before, so I mean this is definitely different,” he said. “You see the pictures and you have an idea in your head what it’s going to go like, and then to see this, and I think this is really cool to see all the teachers lined up. And I know the teachers are at actual graduation, but just to see them lined up in this way all honking and everything, it’s really cool and I really enjoyed it.”
Raigan Davis, another graduating senior, said she also enjoyed the ceremony.
“I think it’s awesome that we’re getting to do something with all of our classmates,” she said.
Davis also said the best part of the ceremony was “getting to see all my teachers and getting to hear all my friends getting called, and just getting to have a graduation.”
The ceremony capped off a school year that had taken an unusual turn with the emergence of COVID-19. Davis described the last part of the year as a “total roller coaster.”
“It’s been hard not getting to see my friends and to finish out the school year, but it’s been good to hang at home with my family and get family time,” she said. “But I’d much rather be at school.”
Cook felt much the same way, though he said it was important to focus on the positive aspects of the situation.
“In a lot of ways, it feels like we’ve missed a part of our lives, a part of our senior year, but you know, we’ve got the school throwing this for us, and we’ve just got to appreciate it and enjoy the moment and move on from here,” he said.
Republic High School will hold a formal graduation ceremony for the seniors at JQH Arena in Springfield on Aug. 1.


Lawrence County Record

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