Local schools have been forced to think outside the box when it comes to celebrating the Class of 2020 due to recent state health guidelines, which caution against holding traditional commencement ceremonies. Here are what area schools are doing to celebrate graduates in the upcoming weeks:
Bemidji High School
Bemidji High School graduation will take place on Saturday, May 23. Seniors have been asked to fill out forms with information about themselves which will be read on the radio during the event. At 8:45 a.m., students will line up in their cars in the Sanford Center parking lot. Graduates have been asked to sit in the front seat. At 9 a.m., a law enforcement escort will guide a procession of graduates through town, eventually ending up at Bemidji High School. Students will then drive up one at a time -- never leaving their vehicles -- to receive their diplomas from school board members. Families have been encouraged to decorate their vehicles. A video explaining the procession route has been posted on the Bemidji Area Schools YouTube Channel.
At 6 p.m. on Friday, May 22, there will be a graduation vehicle procession from Bangsberg to TrekNorth via 15th Street, Norton and 24th Street. At TrekNorth, graduates will stop and have their names announced and handed their diploma. Staff will be at TrekNorth to cheer them on. Signs have also been installed at Trek North to honor graduating seniors.
Voyageurs Expeditionary School will honor its graduating class with a short parade ceremony on at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 29, in the Voyageurs School parking lot, 3724 Bemidji Ave. N.
The Blackduck Class of 2020 will be honored with a graduation ceremony on Friday, May 29, a 9 p.m. on the south side of the school. Parents will park in the student parking lot. One passenger vehicle will be allowed per household. Participants must remain in their vehicles for the entire program.
On Friday, May 22, students will be coming to the school to pick up their caps, tassels, stoles, and gowns and return textbooks and Chromebooks. They will also draw a number for a parking spot for graduation.
Kelliher High School will honor its Class of 2020 with a curbside graduation ceremony in front of the school at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 23. The public has been encouraged to listen to the commencement ceremony on the radio on station Coyote 102.5 FM.
Northome will celebrate its class of 2020 with a parking lot ceremony for the graduates and immediate family, and a parade through town to follow. It will not be open for the general public due COVID-19 precautions. A live stream link will be provided at a later date. Graduation is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, May 22. Following the graduation ceremony, between 6:30 and 7 p.m, graduates will parade through the Main Street of Northome. Banners honoring the graduates have been installed throughout downtown. Members of the community and general public can stand or sit on the sidewalk (practicing social distancing) and cheer on the Class of 2020 as they slowly stroll down Main Street in their vehicles. Contact Principal Jeremy Tammi at (218) 897-5275 ext. 155 with questions.
Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School plans to honor its class of 2020 with a drive-in style graduation on Thursday, June 18, at the school, 15353 Silver Eagle Drive NW in Bena. Each graduate will be able to invite two vehicles to attend. Organizers will be practicing social distancing as well as using masks and gloves. Graduates will be showcased on the electronic sign-board in front of the school and the sign-board at Cedar Lakes Casino.
The Cass Lake-Bena School graduates will be celebrated and honored on Friday, May 29, with a graduation procession. Spectators have been encouraged to send the class off with honks and hollers. The event will begin at 7 p.m. The route will be the length of Second Street through Fox Creek to the bus entrance of the school. Students have been asked to remain in their vehicles.
Red Lake Secondary
Graduation will be held on Saturday, May 23 for the Red Lake Secondary Class of 2020. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. in front of the Secondary Complex. Students and their immediate families are limited to one car. Cars will be lined up and drive to the front of the school, the student will step out of the car, pick up the diploma cover from the table, and hop back in the car. Details have been emailed to each senior.