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Despite the fact that 17 Britton-Hecla graduates were denied traditional commencement ceremonies due to COVID-19, they still participated in the traditional cap toss after they received diplomas on Sunday.

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B-H senior Nick Nelson picked up his diploma as he walked across a stage erected in the school parking lot for the school’s graduation on Sunday. A vehicle parade of graduates and their families replaced the traditional commencement ceremonies. Each vehicle drove into the lot and graduates received diplomas before exiting and making way for the next vehicle.

B-H Honors 17 Grads

Seventeen Britton-Hecla seniors received diplomas on Sunday, but the way it happened makes the Class of 2020 unique in the school’s history.

For years, local graduates have walked across the stage – in Amacher Auditorium or in recent years in the Britton-Hecla Arena – to receive their hard-earned diploma, congratulations from administrators, and hear the applause from friends and family packed into the gymnasium.

Receiving the diploma and congrats from administrators remained the same on Sunday, but it was outside in the parking lot with only a carload of supporters to applaud.

Due to safety precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a parade was held in place of the normal commencement exercises inside. Graduates, along with family members, rode in decorated vehicles along a parade route that began at Hugh Schilling Field, passed by Wheatcrest Hills, and ended up at the school. Spectators lined the parade route in vehicles and some were sitting in lawn chairs. The event was also live-streamed.

Vehicles in the parade were spaced out by several minutes so that they would not be backed up when arriving at the school. One vehicle at a time pulled up in the parking lot east of the school where a stage was set up. High School Principal Carrie James announced the name of each student and that student walked onto the stage, picked up the diploma, and was congratulated by James and Superintendent Steve Benson.

Graduates posed on stage for a picture, and then family members got back into their vehicle and exited the parking lot to make room for the next graduate. Teachers were also stationed by the hand railings going onto and exiting the stage and after each student left the area those railings were sanitized.

Class officers – President Emma Storley, Vice-President Logan Johnson, and Secretary-Treasurer Jaden Jenkins – recorded their traditional commencement address prior to Sunday. Anyone wishing to view that address may find a link on the school’s web site.

“Welcome to the first annual coronavirus-style graduation speech,” said Johnson. “It’s been crazy.”

Jenkins said it’s time to look forward.

“2020 will be a year for the history books, but it’s time to look at our next chapter. We will always have memories built together over these important years of our lives.”

The speakers thanked teachers for their roles in the Class of 2020’s lives. “This would not be possi

“This would not be possible without our amazing teachers,” stressed Storley. “Thank you for all that you have done for us that helped us grow into the people we are today.”

“It’s not the ending that any of us imagined,” concluded Jenkins, “but we are so fortunate for everything our school, teachers, and community have done for us.”

Marshall County Journal

PO Box 69, Britton, SD 57430
Phone: (605) 448-2281
Fax: (605) 448-2282