After missing out on many major milestones, graduates from Scottsbluff and Gering High Schools were able to celebrate the most important: Graduation.
“Class of 2020, I am so thankful for the chance to be here celebrating this momentous occasion with you,” Scottsbluff graduate Katherine Reisig told the classmates spread out in front of her at Bearcat Stadium. Markers painted in the grass ensured each seat was six feet apart. There was no handshaking, instead, students were congratulated by those on stage before picking their diploma up off a table nearby.
Scroll to the end of this story to see photo galleries from Scottsbluff and Gering graduation ceremonies.
Her gratitude for the chance to walk across the stage was shared by her classmate Allyson Gion, and the speakers at the GHS ceremony, Alannah Ventura and Adam Flowers. They all mentioned the losses — proms, competitions and banquets — but the focus remained on what’s ahead and the importance of embracing every moment.
“Instead of finishing high school with my best friends beside me, as one should,” Ventura said in her speech. “I finished high school in my kitchen, by myself, in my pajama pants.”
Although it wasn’t the ending she had planned, coming to class in pajamas was pretty nice, she said, laughing.
Instead of the usual indoor graduation, Gering moved the ceremony to Five Rocks Amphitheater. Much of the audience was seated on the grass, while graduates filled up the bench seating. Rows had been closed off to meet social distancing recommendations.
“From now on, I’m going to pay attention to the good things I have in my life,” Ventura said. “So thank you, coronavirus, for showing me the importance of never taking anything for granted. Oh, and for showing me how to probably wash my hands, too.”
Scottsbluff High School now uses a Cum Laude System to recognize its top students. Those receiving Summa Cum Laude: 4.0 or Higher Weighted GPA are: Morgan Baird, Shelby Bewley, Emily Carpenter, Allyson Gion, Anna Harveson, Erin Hayhurst, Logan Hernandez, Sydney Hinze, Jakob Huck, Hannah Huynh, Talera Kinsey, Aubry Krentz, Jacob Krul, Lauryn Lambertson, Aniah Mobley, Kamden McGrew, Katherine Reisig, Brisa Rios, Gabriel Salinas, Sarah Salomon, Kayler Soule, Ethan Strey and Delanie West.
Gering High School honored the following students as Valedictorians: Kelsey Bohnsack, Emily Harrison, Alethia Henderson, Yadbir Kaur, Avery Mitchell, Tukker Romey, Zoee Smith, Hannah Splattsoesser, Alannah Ventura, Elli Winkler.
Gering High School’s Salutatorians are: Noah Longoria and Emily Merritt.