Virus leads to alternative graduation plans–updated story…


Courtesy photo from Isaiah Agoitia

ACHS Graduation Robe

The thought of walking across the stage to receive a diploma is about to become a story for the history books. The class of 2020 experienced a senior year like no other, and now, a new graduation system has been added to the equation.
The administration, school board, student advisory groups, psych council, student council representatives, and the valedictorians met over Zoom and created the hybrid graduation for the senior class.
“I was blessed to be able to sit through multiple meetings with the principals and some of my peers to be able to come together and talk about graduation. It was a small group of people so I do wish the school would have offered the seniors a better survey to better understand what the people want,” senior Sophie Buchanan said.
The idea of pushing the ceremony into summer came across many students’ minds, but the school would not have been able to promise graduation for the class, so another plan had to be arranged.
“I understand that if we were just to try and push back graduation to another date, that then runs the possibility of getting pushed back again if the situation doesn’t blow over as fast as expected and that can get messy,” senior Sam Baldwin said.
Small but difficult factors such as cap and gown pictures, valedictorian speeches, and the slideshow created the hybrid graduation idea.
“Some of the students wanted to explore the hybrid idea for gradation, and what was cool was that was the first time I saw those kids smile on that Zoom call,” principal Cheryl Hochhalter said.
Even though the presentation of the diplomas will be live-streamed, many students are sad that their peers and extended family won’t be able to see them walk across the stage.
¨I would do anything to see my peers one more time in our cap and gowns celebrating what we have left of high school and I can’t wait to do that, even if it’s from a distance,¨ Buchanan said.
After all is said and done, the class of 2020 is excited to walk across the stage and receive the diploma they have worked towards for the last 4 years at Andover Central.
“I’m glad that the district figured something out for our family to see us with it being one of the biggest accomplishments we’ve made so far,” senior Aaron Shellenberger said.
From 5 to 6:30 pm, blocks of time will be given to the students so they can walk across the stage and celebrate with their families their accomplishments. The district has covered the cost of their professional photo taken of the graduate. The ceremony will be live-streamed on the day of graduation, May 19, so parents and families can watch what they would’ve seen in the gym that day.
The administration has sent specific plans to all grad families.