YHS ‘virtual’ commencement set May 19

Graduating seniors create slides for Facebook event; Principal Barlow praises 611-member Class of 2020

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By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

Some 611 members strong, the Yukon High School Class of 2020 will participate in a “virtual” commencement on Tuesday, May 19.

VIRTUAL COMMENCEMENT

WHERE TO WATCH: Yukon Public Schools Facebook Page
WHEN:
Tuesday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m.
CLASS OF 2020:
Class, including 611 members, preparing slide presentation for event.

YHS seniors have been preparing their own slides to be presented during the virtual graduation ceremony – but they will not be walking across the stage, Principal Melissa Barlow said.

The virtual commencement will be shown starting at 7:30 p.m. May 19 on Yukon Public Schools’ Facebook page.

“This outstanding class of 2020 is one of the kindest, most caring group of kids that I have been around,” Barlow said. “As a whole, they have always focused on giving back to their fellow students and the community.

“They put others before themselves, which is evidenced by the many charitable contributions and service to their community.”

Due to the widespread impact of COVID-19, the traditional YHS graduation ceremony that would have been May 19 in Oklahoma City have been canceled.

YHS graduates usually accept their diplomas in front of family, friends and classmates during the regular May commencement inside the State Fair Arena.

Oklahoma’s 2019-20 school year officially ended May 8 after being curtailed by devastating pandemic. Social distancing regulations and crowd restrictions prompted by the virus has forced all large gatherings to be canceled or postponed.

YPS sites closed in March after Gov. Stitt’s emergency disaster declaration because of concerns about the coronavirus spreading.

Students, staff and the public have not been allowed in school buildings.

“As of right now, we are producing a virtual graduation (for May 19), but our hope is that we will be able to honor our graduates with a live ceremony later this summer,” Barlow said.

YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth recently shared with students and family members tentative plans to have an in-person graduation ceremony on Saturday, July 18 on the football field at Miller Stadium, 1777 S Yukon Parkway.

The program would follow social distancing guidelines with students staying at least 6 feet apart and a limited audience watching from the stands.

CLASS LEADERS

Valedictorians of the YHS Class of 2020 are:

Colton DeKinder, Liana Feronti, Presli Findley, Cole Fredrick, Halle Funkhouser, Lois Garner, Nickolas Hennigh, Steven Howell, Hannah Kurtz, Kohl Kimmel, Tristan LaRose, Mackenzie Moon, Tayah Morrison, Justin Ogle, Justin Ogletree, Mason O’Hara, Payton Sanderson, Caleb Seright, Kaitlyn Tess, Emma Thompson, Minh Tran, and Mason Wrather.

LaRose will speak at the virtual commencement on behalf of all class valedictorians, the top-ranked seniors who wear white graduation robes.

YHS Class of 2020 officers are: President Kole Frederick, Vice President Tayah Morrison, Secretary Peyton Novosad, and Treasurer Blake Gerber.

The YHS principal wants to ensure all her graduating seniors are recognized for their accomplishments.

“We continue to work on many things that will help our community honor our graduates as well,” Barlow said.

“While this is not the typical ending to any student’s senior year, these students must not forget that this does not diminish their outstanding achievements!”