In light of COVID-19, many 2020 graduates will not see themselves walk across a stage to receive their diplomas this year. Though the pandemic has changed what graduation looks like for seniors everywhere, the importance of commemorating this milestone remains as strong as ever, and schools have done all they can to ensure their seniors have a moment to remember. In partnership with the Hobart Police Department and the City of Hobart, Hobart High School celebrated its 2020 graduating class on Sunday evening with a senior parade.
“We worked with the city and the HPD to meet off-site and lineup cars using the CDC’s social distancing rules to celebrate our seniors of 2020,” said Peggy Buffington, Superintendent of Schools for the School City of Hobart.
“What happened in the world with this pandemic is historical, and it will never be forgotten,” Buffington continued. “This is an amazing class of students who had to persevere through a huge disappointment in high school with all of the missed end of year events. Whatever we can do to celebrate them should be done!”
Seniors and their families lined up in front of County Line Orchard, proudly wearing the caps and gowns they earned after four years of dedication to their school, determined to savor their ‘I did it’ moment however they could.
“I even had students map out a route and email me their plans to show that it could be done,” Buffington said.
The parade served as a prelude for a virtual graduation, which went live at 6:00pm Sunday evening. At 4:00pm, the purple and gold caravan made its way out of County Line Orchard, down 10th street and into town. The parade passed Hobart High School mid route, where a big surprise awaited seniors as they drovepast. Each of their photos adorned a sign placed on the front lawn of the school, and a crowd of friends, family, and Hobart High School staff lined the roads with signs shouting cheers of congratulations.
“They are an incredibly accomplished class. Out of 300 graduates, we had 190 seniors with the 6-credit CTE Concentrator sequence, 235 seniors earning college credit, 167 seniors earned 15+ credits, 8 earned STGEC, 4 earned Associate’s Degree, and we had a total of 5,568 dual credits earned, which is equivalent to $807,415.68,” Buffington said. “With all they’ve done, they deserve this recognition, and so we did everything we could to celebrate this wonderful class safely.”
In Buffington’s eyes, the way these seniors responded to the COVID crisis, and how they will continue to respond moving forward, has demonstrated a quality of strength that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
“I believe these students are showing us that they are ready no matter what life may bring – they can handle disappointment and do it with grace,” Buffington said.
As demonstrated by their impressive list of accomplishments and their strength and resilience in responding to COVID-19, Hobart’s Class of 2020 is truly special, and Buffington has no doubt that they will continue to shine in all they do moving forward.
“This class was extraordinary even before the pandemic, filled with innovation and ideas,” Buffington concluded. “They are always serving others, and they will have a huge impact on the world no matter what direction they choose to move in.”
As the final car completed the parade route and the virtual graduation commenced, the Brickie seniors wrapped up their final chapter of high school. With high school coming to a close and college just around the corner, Buffington has a final message she hopes that all 2020 graduates will carry with them.
“Always remember…Once a Brickie, Always a Brickie!”