Last Tuesday was Diploma Day for graduating Big Spring High School seniors, as they picked up their diplomas in a socially distanced, non-traditional commencement ceremony at Bulldog Stadium.
Big Spring’s Class of 2020 graduates, each donning their cap and gown, were able to walk down Bulldog Hill with a classmate and hear their name called as they walked across the stage with Big Spring School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Fry, High School Principal Bill August and President of the Board of School Directors William Swanson there to greet them and share their congratulations. They had the proclamation of their fulfillment of requirements read aloud so they could switch their tassel and celebrate.
Students then were able to pick up all of their materials, including their diploma and a gift from the post-grad committee.
There were a number of photo opportunities for graduates, with photographers Doug Lindsay, Randy Finkey and Shawnee Smith donating their time and skills to make the day even more special for all.
“The school district was very heartened to hear positives from both parents and students as the event played on throughout the day,” Fry wrote in an email to The Valley Times-Star. “We knew we could never recreate the atmosphere of our traditional outdoor commencement open to the entire community, but we did our best to build in the traditions that are so meaningful for our students within what we offered for this adjusted commencement.”
Big Spring School District had hoped to conduct a more traditional commencement ceremony Aug. 7, with some limitations on crowd size. But according to Fry, at this point that offering is looking less feasible. At Monday’s school board meeting, Fry noted the district still needs to wait to make a final decision on the Aug. 7 date due to the state’s social distancing requirements surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and the limitations on gatherings involving large groups. He thanked the community, borough and surrounding municipalities for helping to pull off a successful graduate parade through town on June 5, the evening the grads were to grace the stage for their diplomas.
“We had 140 cars and somewhere between 165 and 175 students out of 200. Participation was fantastic,” he noted. “I think we have done a great job honoring our graduates.”
Swanson added he was astonished by the parade participation, and said he has received nothing but positive feedback from families on the nontraditional ceremony.