Organizing a graduation ceremony is a hefty task in the best of years; but this year, coronavirus restrictions forced school districts like the Lampasas Independent School District to think outside the box to find the best way to celebrate their seniors.
“At first, people had a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea of students not having a graduation ceremony at the stadium,” said Chane Rascoe, Lampasas ISD superintendent. “This has been 10 times more work than a traditional ceremony. Principal Joey McQueen and his staff moved mountains to do this.”
Over the course of four days, starting on Tuesday and ending on Friday, 242 graduates received their diplomas at a rate of around 60 students a night. Two carloads were allowed to park in front of the stage to watch students’ big moments.
But it was way more festive than it sounds.
“We’ve had limos, party buses, and even a $90,000 Corvette show up, with everyone yelling and cheering; it’s been something to see,” Rascoe said. “It’s fun to see the kids excited and to have them leave with a sense of happiness and good memories.”
Rascoe said that this year’s crop of seniors is a special group.
“It’s been hard on them,” he said. “They had so much taken away from them: prom, activities, a traditional graduation ceremony. And they haven’t been able to congregate with each other.”
That’s why it was important for McQueen and his staff to find a way to honor the Class of 2020.
“They added that special touch,” Rascoe said. “It’s a way to let them know that we care and love them and it gives our seniors some closure.”
The superintendent said he’s seen a range of emotions during the past few months, but now it’s dominated by a “sense of relief and satisfaction.”
“Through the applause, there are tears,” Rascoe said. “The ceremonies have been a way for the kids to express their emotions and experience high school one last time.”
Rascoe was thankful for community support.
“When they come out to support the kids it makes everything go so much better for them,” he said. “I’m proud of our community.”
People can watch the two graduation films on the Lampasas High School website and Facebook page. The first one, Virtual Graduation, was produced by a professional firm and the second one is a more personal collection put together by the district.