Brookings School District finds unique way to hold graduation ceremony for 2020 seniors


BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – COVID-19 caused schools across KELOLAND to close their doors for the remainder of the school year. For those high school seniors, many of them were looking forward to graduation.

2020 seniors at Brookings High School will get to celebrate their graduation ceremony together, while still practicing social distancing protocols.

Brookings High School seniors, Cynthia Campbell and Tori Diersen are looking forward to their graduation ceremony in just a few short weeks.

However, this year’s event will look a little different.

“We are going to be lined up in alphabetical order in your vehicles next to each other in the parking lot facing the stage so we so we won’t be sitting side by side but you’ll know that everyone is there,” senior Tori Diersen said.

“We will have a production stage that we’ve secured for the event. The car will drive up to the edge of the stage, the graduate will depart their car, wearing a mask, and go up the steps, there they will receive their diploma, as their name is read their picture will be projected on the screen, we will have a photographer and video production company capturing the moment,” Brookings School District superintendent, Klint Willert said.

Willert says the district wanted to find a way the graduates could celebrate together, but in a safe way.

“We solicited information from both the City of Brookings as well as Brookings Health Systems and determined a way we could continue with the graduation ceremony,” Willert said. “We did it with the input from students, parents, staff, and everybody indicated that as much as they possibly could they really wanted to have a live event.”

“I really like that we can do it together as a group and still have a graduation feel while still practicing social distancing,” senior Cynthia Campbell said.

A celebration these soon to be graduates have been waiting for.

“Seeing people even if we can’t hug and handshake and high five, it’s still just to be able to see people and say hi, I think that is what I am looking forward to most,” Campbell said.

Willert says this option also allows graduates who may be joining the military or have other commitments going on later in the summer to attend. The graduation ceremony will be May 16 at 6:00 p.m. The ceremony will also be live-streamed on the district’s live network.

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