Class of 2020: Green Canyon High School prepares seniors for different graduation options

Internet Education 2020-07-18 06:51:58

Editor’s note: This is the first story in a series on graduation in Cache Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rain accompanied a scattered flow of seniors dressed in their caps and gowns who, using social distancing guidelines, came back to Green Canyon High School on Thursday for the first time since Utah schools switched to remote learning at the beginning of March. “It is sad to be back, but it is bringing back good memories,” said GCHS senior Sabree Adams. “It has been a good reason to get dressed up and get out of the house.” Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. and going till around 6 p.m., students were allowed to show up in increments at the school decked out in their graduation gear for celebration preparations. Schools around the nation are navigating restrictions in order to come up with ways to celebrate seniors’ accomplishments while keeping the community safe. While the state is not allowing schools to pursue drive-in style graduation ceremonies anymore because of how hard it would be to stay in cars while friends, family and teachers are gathered so closely, schools around Cache Valley are coming up with seemingly endless backup plans.


Green Canyon seniors gather outside the school after getting their graduation pictures taken.

Eli Lucero/Herald Journal

“We miss the kids and then you see them in their caps and gowns, well, I got all choked up,” said Shane Jones, an assistant principal at GCHS. “We have to do all we can.” Jones said the administration is working through several different ideas for graduation but they wanted to be prepared if a virtual ceremony is all that is allowed a month from now. “We are still waiting on direction from the state and waiting on direction from the local health department, so most of our efforts are just putting together a bunch of contingency plans,” Jones said. “If we have to go to a virtual graduation, we’ve got to do a good one. We can’t throw it together in just a couple of days, which is why we are doing this preparation.” With chairs marking the path and indicating six feet of spacing between students, the seniors stopped at three different stations. One was for a portrait photo of the student, the next was for a six-second video to share a dance move, wave cleats, pom poms or some identifying object for an introduction video. The last station was for a video that needed one each senior to say one word. The clips will be compiled and reveal the full lyrics of a song the senior class usually sang at football games and pep rallies. “This is her rite of passage; she’s come all this way,” said Julie Adams, Sabree’s mother. “Celebrating our seniors has been sad but we have been doing lots of little things, like a sunshine box full of things that are yellow and happy, when they announced school was dismissed for the rest of the year.” Sabree even had a brand-new yellow sundress on under her robes, picked out just for photos, because she said it is really the little things that help make it all feel like it is going to be OK. “I miss social interaction, but what can you do,” Sabree said, shrugging. “It is interesting to know that it is not just our school and that every school is affected. We are all just trying to figure this out.” Many of the seniors throughout the day agreed, saying that the transition to online school and missing out on senior traditions has been hard but there are still ways to celebrate. “It is weird because we say we hate school and then when we don’t get it anymore, we miss it,” said GCHS senior Ellie Lindsay. “I am looking forward to this all being over, but we are going to try to party in the meantime, even if it is a virtual party.”


Amy Goodsell gets a cap and gown for a senior student at Green Canyon on Monday. Students drove up to the curb where where the gown was handed to them.

Eli Lucero/Herald Journal

Lindsay said the senior trip was going to be at Lagoon, and missing that has been the biggest bummer. Now, she is just looking forward to whatever comes next, which in her case is freshman year at Dixie State University in the fall. “Nick! You’re awesome,” Lindsay yelled towards another robe-clad senior but resisted the urge to run and hug him. “Man, I miss Nick,” she said with a sigh.

Editor’s note: This is the first story in a series on graduation in Cache Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rain accompanied a scattered flow of seniors dressed in their caps and gowns who, using social distancing guidelines, came back to Green Canyon High School on Thursday for the first time since Utah schools switched to remote learning at the beginning of March.

“It is sad to be back, but it is bringing back good memories,” said GCHS senior Sabree Adams. “It has been a good reason to get dressed up and get out of the house.”

Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. and going till around 6 p.m., students were allowed to show up in increments at the school decked out in their graduation gear for celebration preparations.

Schools around the nation are navigating restrictions in order to come up with ways to celebrate seniors’ accomplishments while keeping the community safe.

While the state is not allowing schools to pursue drive-in style graduation ceremonies anymore because of how hard it would be to stay in cars while friends, family and teachers are gathered so closely, schools around Cache Valley are coming up with seemingly endless backup plans.

“We miss the kids and then you see them in their caps and gowns, well, I got all choked up,” said Shane Jones, an assistant principal at GCHS. “We have to do all we can.”

Story continues below video

Jones said the administration is working through several different ideas for graduation but they wanted to be prepared if a virtual ceremony is all that is allowed a month from now.

“We are still waiting on direction from the state and waiting on direction from the local health department, so most of our efforts are just putting together a bunch of contingency plans,” Jones said. “If we have to go to a virtual graduation, we’ve got to do a good one. We can’t throw it together in just a couple of days, which is why we are doing this preparation.”

With chairs marking the path and indicating six feet of spacing between students, the seniors stopped at three different stations. One was for a portrait photo of the student, the next was for a six-second video to share a dance move, wave cleats, pom poms or some identifying object for an introduction video.

The last station was for a video that needed one each senior to say one word. The clips will be compiled and reveal the full lyrics of a song the senior class usually sang at football games and pep rallies.

“This is her rite of passage; she’s come all this way,” said Julie Adams, Sabree’s mother. “Celebrating our seniors has been sad but we have been doing lots of little things, like a sunshine box full of things that are yellow and happy, when they announced school was dismissed for the rest of the year.”

Sabree even had a brand-new yellow sundress on under her robes, picked out just for photos, because she said it is really the little things that help make it all feel like it is going to be OK.

“I miss social interaction, but what can you do,” Sabree said, shrugging. “It is interesting to know that it is not just our school and that every school is affected. We are all just trying to figure this out.”

Many of the seniors throughout the day agreed, saying that the transition to online school and missing out on senior traditions has been hard but there are still ways to celebrate.

“It is weird because we say we hate school and then when we don’t get it anymore, we miss it,” said GCHS senior Ellie Lindsay. “I am looking forward to this all being over, but we are going to try to party in the meantime, even if it is a virtual party.”

Lindsay said the senior trip was going to be at Lagoon, and missing that has been the biggest bummer. Now, she is just looking forward to whatever comes next, which in her case is freshman year at Dixie State University in the fall.

“Nick! You’re awesome,” Lindsay yelled towards another robe-clad senior but resisted the urge to run and hug him. “Man, I miss Nick,” she said with a sigh.

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