Graduating during the Zoom era

On May 26, seniors paraded through Oakwood, watched virtual graduation

Line leaders: Mascots Lumberjack and Lumberjill, Mrs. Heidi Edwards, cheer coordinator, and Mrs. Kathy Barlow, cheer coach, rode in the bed of a pickup truck and led seniors during the parade. Photo by: The Ax Staff

The district honored the Class of 2020 with a parade and online graduation ceremony on May 26. 

Starting at 4  p.m., cars began lining up at Lane Stadium and volunteers, the Oakwood Police Department, high school staff and administration were on hand to direct traffic and line up the cars.

Students and their families decorated the cars while they awaited for the parade to start at 5 p.m. Graduates walked around outside and celebrated before the parade.

“It worked out pretty well,” Jacob Frazee (12) said. “I really liked the parade. It was nice to see and say ‘hi’ to everyone.”

Finally, a siren sounded and the cars began their route up Irving Ave. The route twisted through the city and then stopped at the high school.

Later that evening, graduates and their families turned to Zoom to view the broadcast the graduation ceremony. It included multiple parts performed by seniors, including a musical prelude performed by Gideon Brenner, a tuba solo by Jacob Biesecker-Mast, and two student performances by Charlie Blumer and Eliana Griffin.

“I didn’t think I would like it compared with some of the events other schools were doing, but I ended up really liking it,” Sam Brown (12) said. “I really liked the slideshow and seeing all of my pictures.”

There were speeches, including a  welcome by Dr. Kyle Ramey and Principal Dr. Paul Waller, which included a moment for Jacob Polete, who would have graduated this year but died by suicide in 2018, a speech by Class President Elizabeth Vaughn highlighting members of the class, and a review of the class by Principal Dr. Paul Waller, where he used drones and video to tell the story of the class from various Oakwood locations.

“I thought it was a lot of fun.  My parents actually thought it was cooler than the graduations they had,” Aryanna Baker (12) said. “We could talk during the event and we had a family party afterwards.”

The district also included student videos that they had collected, which developed into a montage of students with diplomas and of the traditional cap toss.

The event ended with with shot of Waller riding away on his scooter, and then the event displayed multiple send-offs from various Oakwood Schools staff members, ranging from elementary to high school.

Zoom grads: Miriam Sutch (12) watches the graduation with her family on Zoom on May 26. Photo by: Naomi Sutch