Academics in a Pandemic: Graduation Recap

Hundreds of graduates commemorated their graduation in a socially distanced ceremony at Echo Park on June 27.

by Kira Zizzo, Editor in Chief

Jimmy Lam ‘20 converses with his fellow graduates before the graduation ceremony begins at Echo Park June 27. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, graduation was postponed from its original date in May. “It was nice to see everyone one last time before we all go different ways and start new lives,” Taylor Eubanks ‘20 said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


Educational assistant, Kandi Hedges applauds as graduates are called to receive their diplomas during the graduation ceremony at Echo Park June 27. The ceremony was live-streamed and is available to view on Youtube “I thought the modified graduation was great given the circumstances. It felt like a real graduation, and I was beyond happy to be given the opportunity to walk,” Logan Tauris ‘20 said.
(photo by Kira Zizzo)


After graduates receive their diplomas, Sage Wheeler ‘20 addresses the graduating class of 2020 in a speech at Echo Park June 27. Wheeler encouraged his fellow graduates to be their own superheroes and take action to help others. “Even if we don’t get a movie franchise, know for a fact that each and every one of us has been a hero over our last four years…from the wishes we’ve granted to the memories we’ve made, we’ve all been real-life superheroes to our community and we didn’t even need to be bitten by radioactive jaguars to do it,” Wheeler said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


Tanner Schmitz ‘20 and Audrey Corrado ‘20 listen attentively to closing remarks during graduation June 27 at Echo Park. Graduating students were allowed two guests each who would sit six feet apart from other guests in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “It was nice to finally have a ceremony after such a long time of waiting and it was very laid back and relaxed which was nice. However, it was still weird graduating in a pandemic” Corrado said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


At Echo Park, Taylor Dunaway ‘20 and other graduates clap during opening remarks at graduation June 27. After Dunaway’s makeshift online home prom, she felt lucky to be able to graduate in person. “To graduate during a pandemic was tricky of course, but at the same time we were all in it together making the best of it. We never planned for any of this to happen but I believe our class was strong and worked together to make the best of it,” Dunaway said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


Audrey Corrado ‘20 celebrates as Superintendent Dr. Tucker accepts the Rock Canyon class of 2020. Dr. Tucker congratulated the class of 2020 and encouraged them to continue creating positive changes. “It’s such a pleasure seeing the faces behind the emails I received regarding graduation to make this happen…We are living in unpredictable times. Who would’ve thought that Lysol, Charmin tissue, and Clorox wipes would be at a premium?…It won’t be my generation that will help make sense of this and advance these causes, it will be this generation, this class of 2020,” Dr. Tucker said.
(photo by Kira Zizzo)


During graduation, Connor Hildebrant ‘20 leans forward to watch his fellow graduates receive their diplomas June 27. Over 500 graduates attended the graduation ceremony. “I was just happy that we got to walk across a stage. Up until graduation, I still felt like I was still in high school because we got no closure,” Taylor Eubanks ‘20 said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


Carter Brand ‘20 celebrates after moving his tassel to the left at graduation June 27 at Echo Park. For guests, socially distanced seating was available in stands, at the edge of the track, and on the turf hill at the side of the stadium. “Considering the circumstances, I thought the graduation was very well put together. The speeches were great and it was amazing how every student was able to walk the stage. The fact we even got an in-person graduation just comes to show the adaptability and resilience of our academic leaders here in Douglas County. As I move onto college, I will use this graduation as a reminder that there is always a solution in the face of adversity,” Brand said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


As students receive their diplomas during graduation, Matt Bess ‘20 watches on with nostalgia June 27. The 2020 class song was “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts. “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” the 2020 class motto by Dr. Suess said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)


Jack Barton ‘20 cheers while his friend receives his diploma during graduation June 27. Masks were worn to and from seating for guests and graduates, but they had the option to remove their mask for the duration of the ceremony. “The only problems I really saw with it were the incredibly lax covid guidelines and the fact that we didn’t really have a rehearsal. It felt like no one really cared about the pandemic which was honestly refreshing albeit pretty dangerous. All in all I’m thrilled we were given the chance to finish up our senior year with a proper ceremony,” Logan Tauris ‘20 said. (photo by Kira Zizzo)