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Finally time to celebrate!

Finally time to celebrate!

CSHS seniors celebrate commencement

Madi Morris was one of many CSHS seniors to officially graduate last week. Courtesy photo.

It took some planning and teamwork, but the 2020 graduates and their families finally got to celebrate commencement over several days last week at Red Hawk Stadium.

“Graduation went very well given the requirements we were under for Covid-19,” said high school principal Ron Behrenwald. “The graduates and their families and guests who participated in the awarding of the diplomas (just over 2/3 of the class) exhibited the full spectrum of emotion that we have at a traditional ceremony.  We made every effort to make this as meaningful and memorable as possible for all involved.”

Behrenwald said the students came to their scheduled appointment dressed in their gowns, cords, medals, and with their caps decorated. They walked with their family and guest from Red Hawk Stadium entrance to the stage set up on the track near the 50-yard line. The families and guest were able to get into position in front of the stage where the Board of Education members awaited the graduate who walked forward at the reading of their full legal name over the stadium speakers and the sound of Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background. 

The graduates then received their diploma cover from a BOE member and a professional photographer from Geskus took their picture. There was an area set up for the graduate and their family/guest to get a picture together.  Since students signed up for their timeslots on Sign-up Genius, they were able to walk through near their friends they wanted to and then get some photos with their friends behind the home side bleachers or around the school campus.  

“We even had the scoreboard lit up with 2020 on the time and the home score being 20 and the visitor score set at zero with it being 4th quarter, 1st and 10, with the ball on the 1 yard line.  All to represent the end of high school and the great start the Class of 2020 will have on the rest of their life and their post secondary choices,” explained Behrenwald.

The event was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.  Behrenwald said Wednesday night got cut an hour short due to rain, but they came back the next night and finished the students who had to be rescheduled, which actually allowed one or two students who couldn’t make it any of the first two nights to come that night.

“We also videotaped the event and are in the process of recording the speakers scheduled to speak at commencement (Salutatorian, Valedictorian, and Commencement Speaker-Mr. Dave Stuart) and will be producing a video and hopefully a digital media piece that students and families will have as a record of the historical event,” noted Behrenwald. “We will use excerpts from the video to show each graduate receiving their diploma cover and then a school pic or senior pic of those who couldn’t be there with their name in the video.” 

The Class of 2020 leadership also decided to cover the cost for providing one 5×7 photo of the diploma presentation and one 8×10 of the family photo to each graduate since they had extra funding that would have normally been spent on the class but which wasn’t due to COVID restrictions.  

“All in all, we have heard VERY positive remarks and sincere thank yous from graduates and families who participated for making this as special as possible,” said Behrenwald. “Many were surprised by how personal and authentic as possible we made the presentation of the diploma covers. 

“This was my 21st commencement to plan and preside over in my career (13th at Cedar and 8 from Marshall High School) and yet was by far my most memorable and personally emotional one thus far for me.  I am nearing 4,000 signed diplomas in my time as a high school principal!” he remarked.

This is actually the second graduation ceremony held this year. There was one performed in the spring for a small group of students who were heading off to the National Guard and active army duty. 

Army and National Guard recruits graduated earlier in the spring. Pictured from L to R: Alexis Saagman,  Nathaniel Hackbardt, Alyssa Washington, Paige Oosting, and principal Ron Behrenwald.

“When the high school graduation had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 restrictions, I reached out to Mr. Behrenwald and asked if there could be some way to honor Alyssa and any other students that were joining the military and may be leaving before the new date,” explained Jody Washington. “He worked with us and was able to put together a special graduation event for four kids.”

They were Alyssa Washington, Alexis Saagman and Paige Oosting, who all joined the Army National Guard; and Nathaniel Hackbardt who joined active duty Army. 

Congratulations to you all!

Thank you to those who shared photos on our facebook page, see below:


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