Graduation took on a new look this year

Mike Milbrandt
Presidential Council Member Kristin DeJong welcomed her fellow seniors and their families to the ceremony.

In a graduation ceremony unlike any other in the history of Montevideo, the MHS Graduating Class of 2020 celebrated their accomplishment in a decidedly different manner on Sunday evening.

When the school year began on August 26 of last year, no one could have possibly predicted what the school district, students, and staff would face in the new year.

Dr. Luther Heller, Superintendent of the Montevideo School District said: “I realize that the commencement exercises weren’t what everyone had been anticipating back when the school year started, but given the circumstances, I thought that Mr. Hickey and his staff did an excellent job of putting together a meaningful experience for the graduates and their families.”

The evening began with a Senior Parade. Seniors and their families gathered at the Runnings parking lot at 7:30. Once the vehicles were organized, the caravan left the Runnings parking lot and traveled on Black Oak Avenue to 17th St., then proceeded south along 17th St. to the high school.

Many of the vehicles were decorated with purple and gold balloons and streamers. Many of the seniors rode through the route in convertibles or in the back of pickup trucks. Some seniors were even perched on the roofs of vehicles.

Once the seniors reached the high school parking lot, staff helped line up the vehicles into rows facing the main entrance to the high school gym, very much like a drive-in movie theater.

Indeed, the Millenium Theater set up their outdoor movie screen for video presentations during the ceremony. In addition, KDMA radio broadcast the ceremony so the graduates and their families could tune in their vehicle’s radios and listen to the ceremony. The event was also live-streamed online.

The graduation ceremony officially began with the playing of a pre-recorded version of the Pomp and Circumstance, which was followed by a recorded performance of the Star Spangled Banner by the Montevideo High School Choir seniors.

Senior Kristin DeJong welcomed everyone to the ceremony in English and Spanish. Then, seniors Kaylee Pauling and Jada Ashling gave a reading of “An Open Letter to the Class of 2020” by Rob Palmisano.

Next, a senior slide show was presented on the Millenium Theater’s outdoor screen. Seniors Tegan Marty, Kristin DeJong, and Ashton Pauling gave a reading by Caitlin Flanagan entitled “You Thought You Were Free, but History Found You.”

This was followed by the Main Address, which was presented by senior Jackson Enevoldsen. Montevideo High School Principal Scott Hickey and Montevideo Schools Superintendent Dr. Luther Heller announced the Presentation of the Class of 2020, followed by the Awarding of Diplomas.

Senior Anisah Carson read “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss, which was followed by a pre-recorded performance of “In Meeting, We Are Blessed” by the combined MHS choirs.

Closing reflections in Spanish and English were presented by Ashton Pauling, and the traditional graduational recessional “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” was broadcast by KDMA.

“So many people worked very hard to pull this off, said MHS Principal Scott Hickey. “The school district is very thankful to Erich Winter of the Millenium Theater, Jamie Pauling, Zach Koepke, and KDMA!”

Dr. Heller said: “I’d also like to thank the City of Montevideo and the staff at our local radio station for all of the work they put in to make the evening a success.”

The Graduating Class of 2020 Class Officers were President Jackson Enevoldsen, and Kristin DeJong, Ashton Pauling, And Tegan Marty were on the Presidential Council.

2020 Distinguished Honor Graduates, who earned a cumulative GPA at year-end of 3.667 or higher, included the following students: Jada Ashling, Carlos dos Santos Assis, Meghan Erp, Alan Marohl, Ashton Pauling, Anisah Carson, Jackson Enevoldsen, James Golden, Tegan Marty, Kaylee Pauling, Kristin DeJong, Anna Erickson-Jeremiason, Tyler Johnson, Annalise McMahan, and Alexa Soto.

Honor Graduates who earned a cumulative GPA at year-end of 3.0-3.666 were: Larel Andol, Jenifer de dios Miranda, Preston Enevoldsen, Breonna Folk, Rylee Jensen, Tyler McKee, Kayla Richards, Josephine Smith, Taylor Wahlstrom, Brady Hagen, Alana Bain, Tyler DeJong, Kylee Erickson, Selvin Hernandez Erazo, Jasmyn Kronback, Jose Navarrete Lopez, Lesly Rodriguez, Logan Spray, Cade Weber, Samuel Olson, Alexis Berg, Charles DuVall, Trew Evenson, Brady Hogrefe, Kelsey Maurice, Bryce Nelson, Patrick Sanders, Yoselin Villalta Sanchez, and Bryce Abel.