District seeks ways to honor ’20 graduates

School officials are working on plans to recognize and honor the Class of 2020 in lieu of regular commencement ceremonies.

“More to come,” said Sweet Home School Supt. Tom Yahraes. The information about how the state was going to handle seniors who were supposed to graduate this year but had their school year cut short.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday last week the extension of the school closure through the end of the school year as part of the effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

The state Department of Education also announced its guidance for graduation. Under that guidance, seniors who had passing grades in their final classes will be considered to have completed the required credits, while those who were not passing will use distance learning to complete their required credits.

The School District’s first priority has been to answer this question, Yahraes said, but a graduation ceremony is important as well, and “that’s going to be coming.”

The high school is putting together a team to figure out how to move forward, Yahraes said. Among ideas has been a drive-through graduation, where graduates drive by and receive their diplomas.

“Steve Thorpe (math teacher) is now working on plans for graduation,” said Principal Ralph Brown. Athletic Director Nate Tyler is coordinating comunity recognition for seniors. “As we move forward, we’ll know more and more.”

“It’s a big deal for the kids, families, extended families, friends,” Yahraes said. “They’ve made it 13 years and been shortchanged.”

The district will do what it can to recognize them, he said, but it will follow what is allowable and safe.