Belle Fourche High School hosts graduation despite odds
BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. — It was one of the smallest graduating class in Belle Fourche High School history.
But big or small, the class of 2020 faced some unforeseen challenges that after their graduation ceremony Saturday has left students feeling uncertain for their future.
“This is 11th graduation ceremony as the principal here and I‘ve always wanted to have an outdoors ceremony,” said Belle Fourche Principal Matthew Raba. “It only took a global pandemic to make it a reality”.
It is a year of many firsts for Belle Fourche High School.
From having a late senior class graduation, to relocating the ceremony for the first time since the school’s infancy and having to implement physical distance between graduates, Belle Fourche High School like many schools across the nation, has been met with many challenges.
“There’s no doubt in my 11 years as principal that this has been the most challenging year. From March thirteenth on, trying to figure out how we’re going to best educate and assess the learning of our students has been extremely challenging and then things like this, like graduation, we certainly didn’t want to take away some special moment like this.”
With 142 days of school skipped, the emotional roller coaster was not lost on the senior class. Many letting their feelings out in their speeches.
In spite of the odds, graduates are still excited about the next chapter of their lives. Harley Fischer who is going to South Dakota State University to study human biology says though uncertainties are still looming, she is confident SDSU will do its utmost to keep students safe.
“I’m a little bit anxious to see what’s gonna happen but I think they’ll do the best they can to make sure it’s as normal as possible for us,” Fischer said.
Foreign exchange students were not able to partake in the ceremony. American flags were sent to their respective homes as a way for them to remember their time in South Dakota.