WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — Schools across KELOLAND have been finding unique ways to honor the 2020 graduates who had their senior year cut short due to the pandemic. Watertown High School graduates have already celebrated with a graduation video and parade, and now the Class of 1969 is hoping a unique keepsake will have them remembering this year for years to come.
Watertown High School holds many memories for the class of 2020.
That’s why the class of 1969 wants to make sure those aren’t forgotten down the road.
“I thought about something that would be durable, and that you could keep with you, and want. T-shirts, coffee cups, everybody has got those, and I wanted to do something different, not a poster or something in the yard,” WHS Class of 1969, Doug O’Neill said.
WHS 1969 alumni Doug O’Neill and Mark Schroder and the rest of their class thought a coin would be a unique way to do just that.
“Has the Watertown High School logo on it, and then on the back some of the concepts that they went through with the pandemic, but with the coin, we had 300 of them made, and the only way you could get one is you had to graduate at this time, from this high school, for this reason,” O’Neill said.
There are 251 students graduating this year. When they pick up their diplomas later this summer, each of them will receive one these coins.
“I thought that’s a fantastic idea, something nice that they can have, it’s a keepsake that they will always have, along with their diploma,” Watertown High School principal, Michael Butts said.
A way to honor the WHS class of 2020 and what made their senior year one to remember.
“Some of our classmates, we are in our late 60s, they’ve got grandkids that have graduated in the class of 2020 and I thought that was great, a great thing for them,” WHS class of 1969, Mark Schroeder said.
“When these students have children and grandchildren, and their grandchildren see this coin, they will want to know what’s the big deal, and so stories and memories and better stories will be remembered as they talk about it,” O’Neill said.
The class of 1969 donated money to make this possible.
Watertown High School has plans for July to have students gather in-person, if possible, to hand out diplomas with the coins.