SHHS graduation a go this week – with conditions

Sweet Home High School’s graduation ceremony will be held on Friday, June 11 at 7 p.m. on Husky Field, weather permitting.

The ceremony is not open to the community. Visitors can attend with a ticket only. Each graduate will receive six tickets that they will give out to the spectators of their choice.

If it rains, the event will be moved into the Main Gym and will be split into three separate ceremonies, said organizer Steve Thorpe. Those would be held at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. and would be adjusted to fit those timeframes.

“Right now, our goal is to have our graduatio cermony outside so everybody cand be involved,” Thorpe said.

Five valedictorians will speak at the event – Natalie Rodgers, Kailey James, Treyson Smith, Maren Weld, and Sicily Neuschwander.

Superintendent Tom Yahraes will also address the crowd at the event.

At the conclusion of Friday’s graduation, there will be a senior alcohol-free entertainment (SAFE) party.

Since the graduation ceremony is outside, masks will not be required if attendees practice social distancing.

On Wednesday, June 9 at 7 p.m., baccalaureate will take place at the Community Chapel in Sweet Home. John Best, who teaches health and PE at the high school, will offer the invocation. Pastor Colton Emmert, lead pastor at River of Life in Sweet Home, will deliver the message. Dan Tow, a math teacher at the high school, will give the benediction.

On Thursday, June 10, a parade sponsored by the senior parents will take place at 7 p.m. Lineup will start at 5:30 at Sweet Home Junior High and Hope Church.

The parade will depart from 22nd Avenue. Parents of the class of 2021 seniors and community volunteers will assist in the coordination and control of the staging areas.

In the parade, graduates can have anyone 24 years of age or older drive them in a passenger vehicle. The parade is being held completely separately from the school’s graduation events, Thorpe said.

If the graduation ceremony can be held outside as a single event, the school will follow “OHA/CDC guidelines,” he said.

“If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. The kids will be distanced and we’re asking the spectators to be responsible. Don’t do anything stupid. It’s just not necessary.”

Last year the school held 23 separate 30-minute sessions – 12 on Thursday and 11 on Friday –to graduate 155 high school seniors in groups of seven, most with an allotment of two guests present.

“I’m excited we get to do this,” said Thorpe, who organized last year’s proceedings.

“What makes this year so difficult is we don’t know what the weather’s going to do.

“Our goal, ultimately, is to get these kids graduated as a class after the last 15 months they have had.

“It’s absolutely awesome how people have stepped up to make sure these kids could have graduation.”