Matt Haase, Grantsburg High School principal, met with their graduation committee which consists of approximately a dozen seniors last week to discuss some plans for graduation with the stay at home orders in place in Wisconsin. He discussed with the school board members at the meeting Monday evening some of the ideas they have been tossing around.
“It was an overwhelming consensus and you could see it on their face that there really is not a substitute for an in-person ceremony,” Haase said of the seniors.
That forced them all into the conversation of the different possibilities and the different ways they could have an in-person ceremony with the restrictions in place that Wisconsin may or may not have in the upcoming months ahead.
Haase said they have been tossing around three different possibilities to take place sometime between the dates of July 31-August 2.
“I would like to plan an in-person graduation ceremony with as many of the traditions as we can keep in place, possibly moving it to a venue where we can have more spacing and social distancing, possibly the football field,” Haase said.
District superintendent Joshua Watt stated that the only issue with setting a graduation date later in the season is that the district has four students who are leaving for the military before then. Haase went on to say that one of those students has a leave date on July 12.
“I would love to celebrate with the individual with more of a family-type basis, I don’t know what that looks like yet…” and school board member Chris Erickson jumped in with the idea of having that celebration being recorded. “You can video something and show it at the graduation so that he is a part of it.”
Haase brought up the idea that he was also looking at an opportunity to deliver diplomas to the seniors on their expected graduation date of May 17. They would do this by meeting in the high school parking lot. Staff would be invited and at least three school board members so they could break into three groups in the parking lot. They would then take busses to deliver and gift the students their cap and gown and any ribbons or medals they would have earned. The students could then put on their cap and gown and do a video tape of a school board member awarding them their diploma. This would not be the virtual ceremony, but a video of the individual tapes could be put together in the future in the event that the in-person ceremony set for the end of July, beginning of August cannot happen due to restrictions still in place in Wisconsin.
Neither the graduation date or the plan is set in stone, but the Grantsburg School District and the high school is working hard to come up with a plan that the seniors will appreciate while respecting the restrictions that Wisconsin has in place due to Covid-19. A date and a plan will be set at the next school board meeting on May 11.
In other items:
• The Grantsburg High School has been recognized as a Top High School by US News & World Report. This is the ninth time that the high school has been nationally ranked to receive this award.