Sturgis holds drive-thru graduation for Class of 2020

STURGIS, S.D. — Graduation time is here, and many schools have opted for virtual graduations.

While there were many unexpected twists and turns to the school year, Sturgis Brown High School ended the year on a high note.

It was a beautiful albeit windy day in northern hills, and Sturgis Brown High school wanted to celebrate their students in a special way.

“Walking across the stage is something very special to everybody who graduates, and we wanted to give that to these kids, and this was the best opportunity to make this happen,” said Pete Wilson, the Principal of Sturgis Brown High School. “Obviously we couldn’t go inside, it’s a little windy out today, but they still get to walk across the stage in person, and we didn’t want to do a virtual graduation for this group.”

The school held a drive-thru theatre style graduation in the school parking lot Sunday afternoon. Vehicles covered in balloons and congratulatory signs filled the parking lot and honked in place of applause. The gesture was very much appreciated by the students.

“I’m just mostly glad that we even got a graduation, I’ll take this over not being able to walk at all, and just getting a diploma in the mail,” said Gabe Rambow. “I’m super thankful that the administration followed through and we all get to do this.”

Well, I wish that we would’ve gotten to have all our last games and all those last memories, but to be honest, this is a memory in and of itself and it’s absolutely amazing again that we got to have this graduation and I’m so happy that I got to spend it with the people that made it this memorable,” said Rick Clark III.

“I think they did a great job, I think they did a wonderful job making everyone feel really welcome, and at least they did something for us, cause I can’t say that for a lot of other schools across the nation,” said Branden Clausen. “And I don’t think they could have put this together any better at all.”

In March, Governor Kristi Noem announced that schools would be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and parents, teachers and students had to adapt fast. Zoom classes and online homework became the new norm and proms were even canceled. Despite the change, the class of 2020 has been successfully adapted to the changing times.

Lead-Deadwood High School also held a graduation ceremony, but made the decision to host it virtually. To celebrate students, a montage of senior phots and messages from teachers and administrators was streamed live on Facebook. Superintendent and principal Dr. Dan Leikvold reminded the graduating class that they were not the class of COVID-19, but were the class of 2020 and should be proud of their many accomplishments. Following the ceremonies, both schools held parades around town for students.

Sturgis students considered it a privilege to be able to walk across the stage, an act that at one time was expected of graduating classes. Despite the many challenges they faced, graduates are hopeful for the future and believe a bright future lies ahead.

“It was a great year, and I’m really excited about our future together,” said Norma Probst.

“You guys helped me with all school year, and I’d like to say that I hope you guys have a good future,” said Racheal Raduenz.

“I’d like to say thank you and good luck to the class of 2020, we really have been through it all together and so I wouldn’t rather spend it with anybody else,” said Rambow.

“It was good to be with all you guys, I just hope you guys go out and live your lives and have fun,” said Clint Donaldson. “Just do what you got to do.”

“I want to say thanks to all my classmates for being good friends to me,” said Brett Konst. “And 100k baby.”

To the class of 2020, congratulations! You made it!

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News