Final Farewell for the Class of 2020

The graduation ceremony was held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 5.

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Maggie McKinney

Caroline Knopke ’20 is crowned by her mother during the graduation ceremony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 5.

Maggie McKinney, Web Editor-in-Chief

The Class of 2020 graduated on Aug. 5. surrounded by their families and teachers with a ceremony held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The traditional ceremony was modified to follow social distancing rules and to exercise an abundance of caution regarding the potential spread of COVID-19.

“I liked seeing everyone and being able to have the ceremony,” Brie Bowes ‘20 said. “I wish it could have been the normal and traditional graduation but it obviously could not be.”

Multiple graduation ceremony traditions had to be altered or removed entirely in order to protect against any possible spread of the virus. Graduates and their families were seated in the audience and remained socially distant from other families, while in past years all the graduates were seated in chairs on the stage. Masks were required, and graduates were provided white masks to match their dresses. Graduates were also not allowed to get ready in the dressing rooms the Kauffman Center provided in years past and could not congregate in the lobby before or after the ceremony.

“I was sad we were unable to get ready in the fun dressing rooms and have all the little behind the scenes traditions, as well as having no pictures in the Kauffman,” Brooke McKee ‘20 said. “However, I was very happy we were able to have graduation.”

A limited number of seats were available for purchase in order to maintain six feet of distance between every family in attendance. Families had assigned seats throughout the venue. Every other row was empty and four chairs were left empty between every block of seats. Due to this, many of the graduates’ non-immediate family members and friends were unable to attend the physical graduation, but were able to watch a live stream of the event on Youtube.

“The challenge was that none of my extended family, like aunts and uncles, could not come.” Bowes said.

Notre Dame de Sion High School

The ceremony was shorter than it was in past years and lasted just over an hour. President Alicia Herald-Kotarba ‘02 gave a short address to begin the ceremony and then introduced the third Top Scholar for the Class of 2020, Allie Dierks ‘20, to lead the invocation. Principal Natalie McDonough then gave a short address and introduced the salutatorian, Nina Trouve ‘20, to give a short speech

to her class. Afterwards, the fourth Top Scholar, Phoebe Mullen ‘20, explained the history behind the crowning tradition and graduates and their families began proceeding to the stage in individual groups. One family was allowed on stage at a time and were only allowed to take off their masks while the graduate received her crown. 

“I felt weirdly grown up,” Bowes said. “When I walked away in my white dress with the crown, diploma case and roses I felt old.”

Once every graduate received her crown, valedictorian Caroline Ehren ‘20 gave a speech to the audience. In her speech, Ehren reflected on how she grew during her high school experience and urged her classmates to make a difference in their lives. In much of her speech, she focused on her generation’s passion for activism and how she believes that the Class of 2020 can change the world.

“When I was thinking about how the Class of 2020 inspires me, the number one thought that came into my head was our generation’s activism. The rest happened from there,” Ehren said. “It felt great to give the speech in front of my peers because I got to convey my authentic voice to them, and in doing so, hopefully inspire them.”