Caps, gowns and a sort of normal end of year for Greencastle-Antrim Class of '21

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Normal, but different, describes end-of-year activities for the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2021.

Dr. Ed Rife, high school principal, told the school board at the April 15 meeting about celebrating the Class of 2021 within COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Plans were formulated after talking with senior class officers and advisers, and many details are still being worked out.

Members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2019 made their way toward the middle school during the Senior Walk. Last year's walk was canceled due to COVID-19, but the 2021 event is scheduled for May 27.

Two significant pre-graduation events — the Senior Walk and Decision Day — were impacted by the pandemic in 2020. The Senior Walk was canceled, and Decision Day took video form.

Commencement was spread out over four days as graduates received their diplomas and celebrated with their families on Kaley Field in individual 10-minute time slots.

Walk the Senior Walk

"Two Awesome Events = Morning of Senior Celebrations" is how a slide shown at the meeting describes Thursday, May 27, which will feature both Decision Day and the Senior Walk this year.

After returning iPads, textbooks and anything else that belongs to the school, seniors will meet in the auditorium to get their caps and gowns. They will participate in the Decision Day celebration as they reveal their plans for the future.

Members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2019 made their way toward the middle school during the Senior Walk. Last year's walk was canceled due to COVID-19, but the 2021 event is scheduled for May 27.

Then they'll don their caps and gowns for the Senior Walk around the district campus. Usually, the seniors travel through the hallways of every building where they are greeted by cheering students and teachers. Due to COVID-19, the walk will probably be all outdoors this year, Rife said.

Additional Decision Day activities are planned after the Senior Walk. If it rains on May 27, Decision Day will be postponed until Thursday, June 3, without the Senior Walk.

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Somewhat traditional graduation ceremony

The individual graduation format was discussed, but student leaders indicated they wanted a more traditional ceremony, Rife explained.

Commencement, as usual, is scheduled at on the first Saturday in June at 10 a.m. on Kaley Field, but with some twists.

In keeping with 50% capacity guidelines, each senior will be allotted four tickets for graduation. The tech department is working on livestreaming the ceremony since attendance is limited.

The bleachers of Kaley Field were empty as Dr. Ed Rife, Greencastle-Antrim High School principal, helped Olivia Smith with her mortarboard before her individual COVID-19 graduation in 2020. Fifty percent capacity will be allowed in the stands for the 2021 commencement ceremony.

The auditorium is the usual backup site if it rains on graduation day, but that's out of the equation because the graduates would nearly max out the pandemic capacity.

If it rains at 10 a.m. June 5, the ceremony will be pushed back until 2 p.m. If it is still raining at 2 p.m., commencement will be delayed at 6 p.m. If June 5 is a total wash, graduation will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 6, according to Rife.

Senior Madi Kirkwood, shown with her brother and fellow student school board representative, Nathan, thanked administrators for working to give the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2021 a more normal end to the school year.

At the end of the meeting, Madi Kirkwood, senior representative to the school board, thanked the administration for its hard work toward a more normal end to the school year.