EFFINGHAM - Some might say it’s been more circumstances than pomp that delayed the 129th annual commencement tradition for the 2020 graduated class of Atchison County Community High School.
ACCHS Class of COVID received their high school diplomas on Sunday, July 26. But like events of the school year, the commencement plans unexpectedly moved from Tiger Stadium to the indoors due to a pop-up rain shower and some clouds overhead that indicated more inclement weather might be looming less than a social distance away.
In the gymnasium Principal Deanna Scherer welcomed the graduates and their invited guests – limited to 10 per graduate were seated in compliance with the health order-standard. Most graduates, guests, faculty and staff were masked in accordance with recommendations.
Scherer recalled the day four years ago when she stood before the Class of 2020 and told them it would be their year of perfect organization. Scherer made references to the unexpected events that have unfolded in more recent times.
Like other COVID class members at other schools, the ACCHS graduates looked forward to their graduation day initially marked on the May 2019-20 school calendar page. But due to the pandemic their senior year was abruptly interrupted in mid-March that prompted a shutdown of school facilities. After what was initially thought would only sidetrack the regular school routines for a few weeks manifested into months of remote learning experiences. There were doubts if the longstanding graduation tradition would even happen.
Scherer told their class members their life is full of dreams despite the challenges before them.
“Go introduce yourself as members of this class,” Scherer encouraged.
Introduced to the audience were the five Valedictorians who each earned 4.0 cumulative grade point averages throughout their 4 years of high school. The Valedictorians are:
Victoria Caplinger, a Governor’s Scholar, member of National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta plans to pursue political science studies at Hastings College.
Sarah Kimmi, a Mu Alpha Theta member and National Honor Society member, is the Dale Dennis Award winner. Kimmi plans to attend Kansas State University in pursuit of business finance and data analytics.
Jayden McNerny, a member of Mu Alpha member and National Honor Society has plans to attend KSU in pursuit of applied mathematics studies.
Graci Postma, a National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta member, expects to study actuarial science and business at Washburn University.
Kayla Vanderpool, a Mu Alpha Theta Member, has plans to pursue forensic chemistry at Washburn University.
Tucker Smith was introduced as the Salutatorian for the class, National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta members, his plans are to attend Bethel College and pursue physical therapy.
Most of the 42 graduates have various plans: 10 have plans for employment; 18 are college bound; 10 expect to attend trade schools and three enlisted in branches of military services. One remained undecided.