Stillwater moves to online graduation


Photo by Alex Steil

Newspaper editors-in-chief John Franklin and Hazel Flock gather on a final Zoom call. They dressed up in their cap and gown to signify the virtual graduation.

Alex Steil, Online Editor-in-Chief

After weeks of planning, the Stillwater Graduation Committee finally came to an tentative agreement for hosting this year’s graduation at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Although the planning had yet to be sorted, the group agreed it was the best idea. Then on May 8, Governor Walz signed an executive order banning any in-person ceremonies.

The Graduation Committee soon put together a plan for the virtual ceremony, to be held on May 30 at 7 p.m. The video will be streamed live on the Valley Access Channel, YouTube, and Facebook.

The ceremony will incorporate all of the usual events, speeches, the literal Pomp and Circumstance, and a reading of names by the counselors. Students, alongside administration, have been in charge of creating the graduation.

“I loved that students were able to help out and put their points of view out there because it is our graduation. I think whatever they do with it will be great because they know how hard we’ve worked and how much we deserve this,” senior speaker Lyxie Moosai said.

Although great effort has been put into the creating the virtual ceremony, there will also be more intimate Zoom calls. Principal Robert Bach said that starting at 8 in the morning on the 30 until 5:30 at night, there will be small session calls with roughly 10-15 seniors. During this call seniors are encouraged to dress up in their cap and gown and move their tassel, as if to signify the real ceremony.

“I would much prefer to do things in person,” Bach said. But his first “job is committing to the students.”

My class missed out on a lot of experiences and I would hope that in the years to come those seniors realize how lucky they are to be a part of this school and have these amazing opportunities.”

— Lyxie Moosai

In addition to a virtual ceremony, Stillwater has also sent out gifts to seniors along with other ways to honor them.

“It was very cool that every graduate received their own honorary yard sign,” said School Board Chair Sarah Stivland. “I know that a parade is being planned by the city of Stillwater on [May 29], and I’m very excited to see how that goes! I also heard that every senior received a free graduation cake!”

Even though great efforts were incorporated to create a meaningful moment for seniors, they are still saddened by the loss of such a landmark moment in their life.

The cancellation of graduation is “sad, but I understand why it is like this,” said Student Council co-president and member of the Graduation Committee Khuluc Yang. “I’m OK with it because I don’t want to put anybody in danger and I just want this to be over with.”

Although the dangers of holding the graduation are apparent to everyone, some are still managing to find some silver lining in the event.

“My class missed out on a lot of experiences and I would hope that in the years to come those seniors realize how lucky they are to be a part of this school and have these amazing opportunities. They should embrace the moments that are happening and not be so worried about the future,” Moosai said.

Stivland has a message to seniors, “Everything just feels like it has been turned upside down, and it is kind of surreal. It is hard for everybody, but for high school seniors, it may seem like you’ve been waiting for so long for this very moment to arrive, and now here it is, and it isn’t anything at all what you wanted it to be. In times like this, there really is only one good choice about how to proceed, and that is to roll with it as much as you can, and look for the silver lining in the moment.”