Sioux Falls, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a different scene for graduation this year at O’Gorman. It is the first ceremony ever held at McEneaney Field. School officials are happy they could still hold an in-person ceremony, something many students and parents wanted.
“It means the world to us, and to them, and especially their parents that were finally able to come together and have some closure to this year that didn’t end the way any of us wanted it to,” O’Gorman High School Principal Joan Mahoney said. “So I think today is going to be really special and just a beautiful way to bring some closure to an incredible class of students.”
There was a lot of support from students to do an in-person ceremony during the summer, instead of doing it virtually.
“It’s really serene for the opportunity for us to pull our graduation together,” said Kyle Groos, Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools President. “For our community to come together on this field. McEneaney Field holds a special place in our hearts and our school system, but to be able to celebrate with out families and our seniors now today, it’ll be exciting.”
It was a school year that started with tornadoes and ended with a global pandemic.
“I was thinking about how we’ve taken for granted every single day how we were going to come back the next day and see all our classmates and teachers,” 2020 graduate Emily Hedge said. “It was just a big eye opening experience that you have to live everyday and you can’t really take anything for granted.”
“It’s really cool, because you know, we’ve spent the last four years of high school learning about history and everything that’s come before us, but to be a part of it, it’s kind of surreal,” 2020 graduate Katie Dinsmore said. “People always say, ‘Oh, this is going to go down in history,’ but like, this one definitely will.”
As these graduates embark on their next steps, Groos reminds them to stay positive.
“My message today is centered around three things is that I want them to have faith, to keep the hope, and to remember to love those around them and those who care for them,” he said.
To allow for social distancing, parents and the graduates were the only people allowed at the ceremony other than school personnel.