Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
Latest News: School News

Shanley seniors don mortarboards and masks for in-person graduation ceremony

Thursday, May 21, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Administration
Share |

 

Graduates sit on football field of Sid Cichy Stadium for the Shanley High School commencement ceremony Wednesday, May 20, in Fargo. Parents surrounded the students while social distancing, too. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Graduates sit on football field of Sid Cichy Stadium for the Shanley High School commencement ceremony Wednesday, May 20, in Fargo. Parents surrounded the students while social distancing, too. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor 

 

FARGO — In what was thought to be the first in-person graduation in the state during the coronavirus pandemic, 86 Fargo Shanley seniors received their diplomas Wednesday night, May 20, in an outdoor ceremony where social distancing was a key factor.

The students, all wearing masks, were spread across the windblown Sid Cichy Stadium football field 15 feet apart with only their parents allowed to attend.

The parents, who surrounded their graduates while sitting in chairs, were also 15 feet apart and wearing masks, as were Bishop John Folda and a few other priests and faculty members who attended.

Students kept their distance as they stood in line and waited for their names to be called to collect their diplomas.

Instead of having someone hand out diplomas, staff placed them on a table and the graduates picked them up as they walked by before posing for a quick photograph.

Graduate Anthony Hollingsworth said after the hour and a half ceremony that he thought it "went better than expected."

"Of course, in true North Dakota fashion, we had to deal with the wind," he said. Several seniors chased their graduation caps at different times during the ceremony as the mortarboards blew off in the strong southerly breeze

Hollingsworth said it was "kind of surreal" to have the ceremony after everything the seniors and other students experienced this spring. The senior class hadn't been united since mid-March, when distance learning began.

"It was incredible, unbelievable to see everyone again," said Hollingsworth, who wants to be a pilot and plans to attend the University of North Dakota.

Michael Hagstrom, president of the city's Catholic schools, was "so glad" to see the students again in a ceremony he called "really rare."

"We really missed them," he said.

Hagstrom credited Gov. Doug Burgum, state Superintendent of Schools Kirsten Baesler, Essentia Health, Fargo Cass Public Health and some parents and students with making the ceremony possible and safe.

Parents Jim and Kari Dew said before the event began as they sat in their two chairs that they were "very happy" to be able to be there, while other family and friends from "around the entire country" were watching a livestream on the Shanley TV website. A video of the ceremony will remain available through the site.

Their son, Jace, had a special person watching the livestream. His grandfather recently underwent heart surgery and planned to show his support for the future Bismarck State College student by watching from his hospital room.

That's the way Fargo and Moorhead families will have to watch their graduates, too. Allowing parents to attend graduation for schools with larger class sizes would greatly exceed Burgum's limit of 250 people for large gatherings that he released last Friday.

For Shanley students and families, social distancing would continue later in the night, too, as the Dew and Hollingsworth families planned small parties with family members.

"We're going to have some cake," Hollingsworth said as his eyes lit up and a smile likely emerged under his mask.

And as the students headed out into a world that at this time seems so uncertain, the commencement speaker, Carolyn Williams-Foell, who is leaving the school after teaching theology there for 13 years, told the graduates to not be afraid, but also to be prudent in making decisions.

"Experience the world," Williams-Foell said. To gain the courage to be unafraid, she told the graduates to rely on prayer as they "talk to God every day."

"You can tell Him about your hopes, desires and frustrations," she said. "That's what I do, and he's not tired of me yet."

 

Graduates are spaced 15 feet apart on the football field of Sid Cichy Stadium for the Shanley High School commencement ceremony Wednesday, May 20, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Graduates are spaced 15 feet apart on the football field of Sid Cichy Stadium for the Shanley High School commencement ceremony Wednesday, May 20, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor 

Sign In


Calendar