The students of the Carthage High School Class of 2020 have lost much to the coronavirus — its prom, the end of the winter sports season, the spring sports season and the final weeks with friends — but they will get the chance to walk across the graduation stage and accept their diploma.
In a letter posted to the school district’s website, Carthage High School Principal Matt Huntley announced that the graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 will be held at 7:30 pm., Thursday, July 30 at David Haffner Stadium.
“Carthage R-9 students, especially 2020 seniors, have lost much in the past few weeks,” Huntley wrote. “However, the R9 administration, faculty and staff are maintaining efforts to hold a full, traditional, on-site graduation ceremony for a very deserving Senior Class of 2020.”
Huntley said holding the ceremony at the end of July will hopefully allow the district more options and fewer restrictions than holding the ceremony in May or June as restrictions on large gatherings change and the coronavirus pandemic develops through the summer.
“Plans are pending local, state and federal restrictions on large gatherings, and of course, the weather,” Huntley wrote. “They are certainly subject to change. If restrictions are lifted by July 30, we will hold a normal graduation ceremony. This is our goal.”
Huntley said if restrictions are still in place, the district will change plans according to the restrictions, maintaining any social distancing requirements.
“If less than 500 people are allowed to gather, we may only be able to allow graduates inside,” Huntley wrote. “If even heavier restrictions are in place, we will have graduates, a few at a time, in the stadium with their families for diploma pickup and pictures. If this occurs, we will try — through video — to recreate a traditional graduation ceremony as best we can and release it to the public.
“The ceremony will be streamed on YouTube for anyone who cannot attend but wishes to watch. Weather will also be taken into consideration. As always, the alternate location for exercises will be the CHS Gymnasium. Congratulations, Class of 2020. Let’s hope for a full ceremony.”
A link to the entire letter from Huntley can be found on the school district’s Facebook page.