No pomp at graduation, but plenty of happy seniors

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM - Marshalltown High School graduate Alex Fernandez is all smiles as he walks off the stage with his diploma.

Not all of the 337 graduates attended the Sunday ceremony at the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse, but the ones who did still had large smiles on their faces.

There were some moments of silence as the seniors slowly walked one-by-one to the small stage. Spots were marked on the floor for seniors to stand, providing as much social distancing as possible for the graduates, their families and Marshalltown Community School District staff members.

Pre-recorded speeches and music were available at 1:30 p.m. for everyone to watch. The video started with “Wolverine Summer” by Randall Standridge, which was performed by the Marshalltown High School Wind Ensemble and directed by Brett Umthun.

The “Star Spangled Banner” was performed by the Senior National Anthem Singers. The performers took

individual videos of their singing which were melodiously combined.

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM - A crowd of people gathered outside the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse on Sunday for the odd graduation ceremony. Graduates had to wait in socially-distanced lines, did not receive handshakes but were still recognized for their accomplishments.

Senior Class President Kaci Uhde and seniors Sher Wah, Rene Hernandez Andrade and Donovan Gavagon greeted graduates in various languages.

Principal Jacque Wyant said the 2020 graduation was like no other.

“In a time when social distancing has become a norm and even though it is one month later than originally planned, it is with great pleasure the Marshalltown Community School District is able to accommodate our seniors so they are able to celebrate this right of passage with their families present,” she said.

Wyant said Marshalltown is distinguished from other districts in that students can earn college credit while going to school. Nine graduates were able to earn their associates degrees:

• Carmen Solorio

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM - Marshalltown High School graduate Lamairra Johnson took the opportunity to decorate her graduation cap. Principal Jacque Wyant said graduates are not normally allowed to do that, but an exception was made this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the odd graduation ceremony.

• Mia Barajas

• Olivia Brintnall

• Grace Fisher

• Saylor Hempy

• Amanda Hoffman

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM - New Marshalltown High School graduate Zach Bitker moves the tassle on his cap — a symbol of his graduation accomplishment.

• Trevor Ketchum

• Kaci Uhde

• Liz Vargas.

Wyant said seven students graduated with distinction, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average:

• Mayah Carson


• Madison Finch

• Grace Fisher

• Erica Johnson

• Austin Shomo

• Avygail Smith


• Kaci Uhde.

“Congratulations students going above and beyond academic excellence,” Wyant said.

The principal said students of the graduating class received more than $3.2 million in scholarships to attend post-secondary institutions.

Superintendent Theron Schutte thanked all of the family members, friends and educators for watching the video. He said they were instrumental in helping the students graduate and in helping them achieve their accomplishments.

Schutte said the students worked hard to meet their academic goals while at the same time handling personal issues. Schutte said many students have acknowledged pursuing post-secondary education and some have chosen to go into the workforce.

“I am confident you are leaving Marshalltown High School Bobcat Ready, well-equipped with the knowledge, skills, creativity and confidence to successfully pursue your dreams and aspirations,” he said. “As you go forward today, I encourage you to be passionate about pursuing your dreams. Be purposeful in pursuing excellence in whatever life path you choose and most importantly, take great pride in who you are, where you come from, what you have accomplished and what you have set out to accomplish in the future.”

Marshalltown Community School Board President Bea Niblock said it was with great pleasure to speak in the video and sent out best wishes to the graduates.

“None of us participating in this graduation ceremony have ever participated in a virtual graduation, nor have we been faced with the challenges that a global pandemic presents,” Niblock said. “I will miss the graduates processional to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” I will miss seeing the smiling faces. I will miss shaking the hands of the graduates. I will miss the opportunity to see each graduate march across the stage and into the future. But just as the butterfly struggles to leave the cocoon, opening its wings to dry, resting and struggling some more until the cocoon is discarded and the wings are full, so too will you emerge a magnificent creature. May you have enough pomp to fill your circumstance.”

She urged the graduates to be responsible, to do what is right and to find something to be thankful for every day.


Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.




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