Graduates of 2020: Looks like we made it

Graduate Noah McCoy meets with Cape Girardeau Central High School principal Nancy Scheller after walking across the stage during a drive-through graduation ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2020, at Cape Girardeau Central High School in Cape Girardeau. Graduates were able to exit their vehicles to walk across the outdoor stage and have pictures taken. (Jacob Wiegand ~ jwiegand@semissourian.com)

Saturday, June 27, 2020 ~ Updated 8:11 PM

The academic year ended abruptly and unexpectedly at high schools across the country this year.

COVID-19 sent students home in March, causing local seniors to miss out on months of classic high school memories and milestones -- winter state championships, spring sports seasons, theatrical productions, proms and more.

In spite of the pandemic and its consequential effects on the Class of 2020, local high schools made efforts to adapt and abide by state health guidelines while still providing outgoing seniors with postponed graduation ceremonies.

In past years, Cape Girardeau and Jackson high schools held graduation ceremonies in the Show Me Center. This year, that was not an option.

Cape Girardeau Central High School graduating seniors were instead awarded diplomas as they crossed a makeshift stage which was set up in front of the school's main entrance while each graduate's families watched from their vehicles then drove away during a June 13 drive-through graduation ceremony.

Jackson High School graduate Amber Marie Lowes smiles during a parade to honor military graduates following an in-person military graduation ceremony Friday, May 22, 2020, at Jackson High School.
Jacob Wiegand ~ jwiegand@semissourian.com

In Jackson, members of the Class of 2020 migrated onto the football field and stood at a distance from one another during an outdoor graduation ceremony held June 19 at dusk.

At Saxony Lutheran, graduates were allowed to have five guests at its June 7 graduation ceremony. Seating was arranged into groups for each graduate and their guests, and hand sanitizer was stationed alongside tissues at each cluster of seats.

Much congratulations are deserved for all the area seniors whose final year of high school ended in a way unlike any other, and to the schools who persevered to salvage one last senior memory.

To the Class of 2020, our masks are up and our hats are off to you.

Supporters cheer for a graduate during a drive-through graduation ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2020, at Cape Girardeau Central High School in Cape Girardeau. Graduates were able to exit their vehicles to walk across the outdoor stage and have pictures taken.
Jacob Wiegand ~ jwiegand@semissourian.com
Graduate Taviunna Allen has pictures made with Jeff Glenn, former board of directors president for the Cape Girardeau School District (left), and Cape Girardeau School District superintendent Neil Glass (right) during a drive-through graduation ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2020, at Cape Girardeau Central High School in Cape Girardeau. Graduates were able to exit their vehicles to walk across the outdoor stage and have pictures taken.
Jacob Wiegand ~ jwiegand@semissourian.com
Graduating senior Sam Varnon speaks to school counselor Judi Fuchs before entering the Gerhard Birk Gymnasium for Saxony Lutheran High School's graduation ceremony Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Jackson.
BEN MATTHEWS ~ bmatthews@semissourian.com
Jackson High School graduate Maggie Todd accepts her diploma from Kelly Waller during a graduation ceremony Friday, June 19, 2020, in Jackson. (Layton Lipke ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

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