Valedictorian can’t attend unless held on June 19



After Governor Laura Kelly announced that Kansas would go into Phase 1.5 instead of Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, the event set for Chanute High’s 2020 graduation has once again changed.

CHS was set to hold a traditional graduation at the Chanute Community Sports Complex on June 19; however, no gatherings of more than 90 people will be able to take place at that time.

According to CHS Principal Brian Campbell, senior students and their parents will have two choices on which they can vote: drive-through graduation on June 19 or traditional graduation on the evening of July 10 at the sports complex.

USD 413 emailed senior students and their parents Monday evening with a survey via Google forms. The district will review the results before making a final decision.

If restrictions are still in place preventing large group gatherings, a drive-through graduation would take place on Saturday, July 11.

“Once we land on an option, we will start developing and communicating the details involved with executing (it),” Campbell said.

Still, senior Sophi Emling hopes the school can have a traditional graduation ceremony.

“If you look at it, we would be the only students not to have a traditional graduation. I believe we should have the opportunity to see each other one last time and celebrate our graduation together,” Emling said. 

“For some students, this will be the only graduation we get, so to turn this into a drive-through graduation without us getting to see each other and no one really pays attention, that’s just not something I want to do.”

Emling’s mother Kathi is also pushing for seniors to have a traditional graduation.

“When you think of graduations, you always envision them in the traditional sense. While it is getting a little frustrating with the changing of dates, I still believe the kids should be able to graduate as a class together,” she said.

If the event is delayed until July, class valedictorian John Stanley will not be able to attend. 

“I actually head out to the Air Force Academy around the 20th of June and hang out with the guys through the 25th, when we will start. While obviously I would love to have a traditional graduation, I would prefer to hold a drive-through graduation so I could attend it,” Stanley said. “However, the main thing is just staying safe. If the other students want to do a traditional graduation, then I completely understand. I can always give my speech on Zoom, but I have to admit that would be a bit sad, because I want to see everyone.”

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