Interactive parking lot Graduation to be held June 23

Seniors honored in multiple ways to compensate for lost experiences

Principal+Scott+Meyers+and+assistant+principal+Jessica+Busse+take+pictures+of+senior+Elizabeth+Reuter+after+delivering+her+Graduation+box+May+27.+A+car+Graduation+ceremony+will+take+place+June+23+in+the+parking+lot+at+Park.+Speakers+and+other+video+elements+will+be+projected+onto+large+screens.

Marta Hill

Principal Scott Meyers and assistant principal Jessica Busse take pictures of senior Elizabeth Reuter after delivering her Graduation box May 27. A car Graduation ceremony will take place June 23 in the parking lot at Park. Speakers and other video elements will be projected onto large screens.

Talia Lissauer

Since the class of 2020 was unable to have a traditional Graduation ceremony, senior Shayla Miller said she is glad Park is having multiple events to honor the seniors including delivering caps and gowns, a virtual celebration and a parking lot ceremony.

“I think the school did the best of the situation. I can’t really think of a better way for them to do it because of the restrictions,” Miller said. “I really like the online video because my grandparents are able to watch it and they won’t be able to come to the car thing so I think you can do the job of trying to make it as much like normal as possible.”

Complying with guidelines by the Minnesota Department of Education, principal Scott Meyers said there will be an interactive parking lot Graduation ceremony 7:30 June 23. The parking lot will open at 6:30 where one car per graduate family may enter and view the ceremony on multiple screens without leaving their vehicles and walk across the stage to receive there diploma. After the ceremony, cars will then drive the Homecoming parade route where community members are invited to line up to support the class of 2020. 

“I think there’s something special that we ended up back on location at the school,” Meyers said. “I think that being the only high school in the community, it’s important but it also feels like our community to be in that space. The circumstances are all strange and unpredictable but I’m happy that we’re going to end up back where we all see each other every day.”

Although senior Amelia Huebsch is happy there is some form of a ceremony, said she is disappointed that each graduate is only allowed one car. 

“The only thing that I was sort of like, ‘oh maybe this isn’t so great,’ is that we can each only have one car and not all my family can attend which is a little sad, but I think they’re making the best out of it. I can’t think of anything else that they could do to really make the situation much better,” Huebsch said.

In an email June 9, Meyers said students will have the option to walk across the stage to receive their diploma and be called out as a graduate while joining the car parade. According to Huebsch, this is an important addition to the event as it will allow for a more traditional ceremony. 

“It’s a graduation tradition that multiple kids look forward to for many many years, ever since they were in elementary school, so I’m just glad we get to finish our high school career with it,” Heubsch said.

With such an abrupt end to the in-person school year, Meyers said he is glad Park has found multiple ways to celebrate the seniors during this unusual time.

“We’re never going to be able to recreate the ceremony that we had,” Meyers said. “But we’re excited that we found an option where we can at least be in the same space and have an opportunity to see and maybe hear each other’s names.”

It’s important to have some type of graduation because it’s a milestone students look forward to, according to Miller. 

“You work for the most part 12 years to get to this point to be out of high school and moving on with your life,” Miller said. “I think celebrating that moment in whatever form that we can it’s super important and it’s closure for students who are moving on with their lives.”