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East and West Marshall graduation different this year

Contributed photos — The East Marshall School District celebrates 2020 seniors with signs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 graduates are being recognized like no other class in the past. While East Marshall and West Marshall chose very different plans for graduation, both school districts are dedicated to celebrating their students’ accomplishments.

According to Superintendent Tony Ryan of the East Marshall School District, commencement will be held in person later in the summer.

“We rescheduled graduation for the last weekend in June,” he said.

If social distancing is still recommended when June 28 gets closer, the ceremony will be pushed back to July 18.

Ryan said this is the latest they will postpone commencement. He noted that if the CDC regulations restrict gatherings at this time, a virtual ceremony will be held instead.

West Marshall held a virtual commencement ceremony last Sunday, which students and their families watched on YouTube from their homes.

Despite the uncertainty of the situation, one thing is evident – East Marshall staff wants to give students the celebration they deserve.

“We are working hard to make this a celebration that our students can remember,” Ryan said.

It is unlikely any of the world will soon forget this year and the creativity people have shown in response to regulations.

The West Marshall School District had commencement Sunday via YouTube.

Kristian Einsweiler, principal of West Marshall High School, began the video with a message to the graduates.

West Marshall High School Principal Kristian Einsweiler gives the opening address to the class of 2020 over video on Sunday.

“Class of 2020, before we begin today, I want to take a minute to acknowledge that the last few months have likely been very difficult for all of you. Your victory lap was cut short by an unprecedented moment in history,” he said. “We all know that none of you asked for this, but we commend you for your grit and determination in forging ahead.”

The video included an opening address from Einsweiler and a speech from Superintendent Jacy Large. Following that, valedictorians Grace Mustaine and Avril Sinning addressed their class.

In the days leading up to the release of the graduation video, students donned caps and gowns and took the memorable journey across the stage to receive their diploma. Einsweiler, Large and school board representative April Coulter stood on stage and the process was no-contact, with the diploma laid on a table for the students to pick up.

On the day of the virtual graduation, the students watched themselves graduate on video with their families at home.

Even though the ceremonies are certainly different from what the class of 2020 expected from their graduation, East Marshall and West Marshall were still honored and celebrated.

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Contact Anna Shearer at ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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